Blasts, riots and terror attacks have been unsuccessful in taking the sheen off Maximum City, Mumbai. But a demon lurking within may just be able to do that. Mumbai was always touted as a "safe city" for women. But when the 'safe' turns out to be 'unsafe', our soldiers come into action.
It was the fateful day of 20 October,2011, when Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez, the two youths from Mumbai went for dinner with their female friends at Amboli Bar and Kitchen restaurant in Mumbai’s suburb of Andheri West.
At 11 pm Santos, Fernandes and five other friends stepped out for paan after having dinner in the Amboli restaurant . A gang of three boys was also present at the paan stall which started passing lewd remarks. A scuffle broke out between the main accused Jeetendra Rana after he allegedly started harassing the girls accompanying them. Rana retreated, but only to return with 20 friends and stabbed Keenan and Reuben. Keenan was stabbed thrice, while Ruben was beaten up with sticks. The soldiers were allegedly stabbed to death by the group after they objected to the indecent behavior of one of the men toward their female friends. The girls were able to escape the chaos because of their valiant friends.
The heroes died fighting eve-teasers. But this was not the first time they stood for what is right. Earlier also, Keenan had help bust a piracy and drug racket in the area and Reuben spearhead the Lokpal campaign in his locality.
This duo was extremely fun loving. They used to party each day. Life was a celebration for them. They were just another men revelling their time. But the virtue of righteousness differentiated these young lads from the others. They risked their lives for the sake of right and left behind the message of respecting and fighting for the honour of every women. I salute these martyrs for their commendable action. Though they are not with us now but the very strong message they left behind will echo in everyone's ears.
On Facebook, a page has been created under “Zero Tolerance Campaign” against what is proverbially (and ridiculously) deemed “eve-teasing.” Campaign coordinator Maitreyee Achadhat said that the page is a “forum for discussion and awareness on the issue.” She said the campaign is not only in the light of the latest incident in Mumbai but for women anywhere in the country.
The problem of eve teasing in the country is getting out of hand. Women everywhere, at least once in their lifetime, have either been groped or pinched or had to bear lewd remarks from men. Under such conditions, soldiers like Keenan and Reuben come to their rescue. But the women should also defend themselves irrespective of the tag of 'weaker and fairer gender'. Self-defence should be made a mandatory subject in the curriculum.
To fight a few demons, some angels have to step forward to make this world a safe place to live in. I request all the men reading this to ensure that whenever you come across such situation when a girl is molested by any oaf, please raise your voice. Don't just sit back and dig your head in sand like an ostrich. Fight against the unjust and make the defaulters realize their mistake. I also request the ladies to never keep mum at such awkward situation. Your silence may encourage the dogs to howl loud. Better chain the beasts and draw the line between man and animal.
Hioy'oy Hoi Polloi