The brutal rape and murder of Jisha in Kerala has, before anything else, become an election issue and both the Congress-led UDF and Left-ruled LDF are trying their best to capitalise on the issue to reach their respective political goals.
Kerala's record in crime against women is getting worse; nobody gave it a thought till the Jisha issue?
It is unfortunate that instead of taking care of the women's safety, the political forces in this country make it an election plank to corner the Opposition. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the rate of crime against women in the southern state is higher than even the national average; did the authorities take note of the fact and better the situation till the murder of Jisha happened just ahead of the May 16 Assembly election? [TN far safer for women than Kerala]
Have the authorities in Kerala given a thought to the fact that being a highly literate state (94 per cent) with a very high literacy among its women (92 per cent), a healthy sex ratio at birth (966) and lowest mortality rate (167), Kerala still has a poor record in crime against women? [Kerala rape issue coverage: Our media just doesn't prefer Dalits and South India]
Between 2005 and 2014, the rate of rape in Kerala has grown by over 400 per cent, assaults by over 200 per cent and sexual harassment by almost 1000 per cent.
It is expected that better education and stronger community networks will help women have a stronger voice against the evils of patriarchy but the story has not been encouraging still. According to experts, women with property rights face less violence. Did her poor economic status see Jisha meet such a pathetic fate?
No time for deeper understanding: It's only polls that matter
The political leaders are not ready to give the deeper reasons any thought for they have no time. They are busy rushing to the hospital where Jisha's shocked mother is admitted. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to meet her on May 11, just like he had rushed to the southern state immediately after the devastating fire in Puttingal Temple on April 10.
But even Jisha was not the last woman to meet such experience. Days after that gruesome incident, another teenage girl was gangraped in an autorickshaw in the state, which clearly suggests that politicisation of the Jisha issue is only helping the parties prepare their strategy to grab power. As for the women in the state---they have remained vulnerable as before.
What's the guarantee that these parties are not shedding crocodile tears for Jisha?
It is difficult to believe the parties, all the more because they have zero credibility now. The Left is attacking the Oommen Chandy government over this issue, saying it was callous in handling it. This same Left has joined hands with the Congress in the just-concluded West Bengal Assembly election. What is the guarantee that they are not using Jisha's murder to prove to the people that they are actually a party different from the Congress when it has come to Kerala?
That's where they have lost their repectability. For power, they can align with the 'class enemy' in one state and also for power, they can use a poor woman's horrendous death in another.