The lack of safety for women in India was highlighted by the Supreme Court again today with judges declaring, "Even after 65 years of independence, helpless ladies are beaten up."
They were referring to two recent incidents of police brutality - in the first, in Punjab, a young woman was slapped repeatedly by two policemen; in the second, women teachers protesting near the Bihar Assembly for a pay hike were hit by the cops in Patna.
The two cases were taken up by the Supreme Court suo motu or of its own accord last month. Referring to the young woman who was hit in Punjab, the furious judges had asked, "Was she a terrorist?" They also reprimanded bystanders who did not intervene - one shot the assault on a cellphone.
The judges had asked the governments of Bihar and Punjab to explain the police violence.
Today, they attributed police insensitivity to a notoriously corrupt procedure of recruitment. "The root cause of the problem is the recruitment," the judges said, "we all know how extraneous considerations are given (importance) during the selection."
The Bihar government had told the judges that hospitals reported no women were injured in the incident, an explanation rejected today. "If you see video clippings, it is shocking. The Bihar affidavit is not acceptable and it is not satisfactory," the judges said.
The case will next be heard on April 4.