Ex Maj Gen SP Sinha, In A Horrifyingly Irresponsible Statement, Supports Revenge Rape In Kashmir!

The recent words of an ex-army man supporting the rape of Kashmiri women as revenge for the atrocities that had been perpetrated on Kashmiri Pandits is a malignant example of rape culture in Indian society. 

The recent words of an ex-army man supporting the rape of Kashmiri women as revenge for the atrocities that had been perpetrated on Kashmiri Pandits is a malignant example of rape culture in Indian society. 

On a TV show yesterday on the issue of the atrocities on and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, former Major General SP Sinha supported the revenge rape of Kashmiri women!

Despite an outrage from some of the other panellists and the audience, the moderator tried to establish ‘peace’ and continued with the programme. Notable was the fact that many in the audience and the panel did not speak up against this, underlining the all pervasiveness of the rape culture that is normalised in society.

Twitterati took this up on twitter, many, including others from the defence forces calling out the words of SP Sinha, and even asking for his ranking and medals to be stripped off him.

Here is what rape culture looks like

Microaggressions that position gender and sexuality as a basis for discrimination and violence pile up under the rug. The mounting pile swells and swells, but no one seems to be noticing or talking about it. Those in power stomp all over the rug, rising with the swelling protuberance, and using their vantage point to stomp down on those that are not in their positions of power.

Think of the idea of a “rape culture” as a backdrop, a setting, as the basis that builds up to the scene. The set then gives way to the main events to unfold, unquestioned, unabashed, and oftentimes, normalized. In more technical terms, rape culture is “a sociological concept for a setting in which rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality.”

A balatkar for a balatkar

This rape culture makes its appearance in every nook and cranny: the unsightly objectification of women on screen, the thoughtless lyrics in a foot-tapping song, lessons plans and textbooks, and of course, prime time news television. Ex-Army Office, Major General AP Sinha, who categorically demanded rape for rape, and death for death, in a bid to avenge the atrocities against the Kashmiri Pandits in 1990, on a news show, is simply the most recent addendum to this melee!

Unpacking what AP Sinha said, it is clear that he was taking a violent stand. His words were violent, his assertion violent, his views definitely violent. Violence solves nothing: and responding to violence with violence is certainly destructive and can send anyone spiralling down the path of destruction.

Chilling mindsets

There are two major things that leave me smarting after listening to what he said.

First, that he thought absolutely nothing of casually inciting rape is chilling, and frightening, even.

In asserting that one should return rape for rape is plain endorsement of the fact that he thought nothing of the fact that women are human beings with rights of their own, that rape is a heinous crime, and that this brazen assertion is merely a miserable affirmation of what structural violence in the name of AFSPA and other sweeping powers for the armed forces can culminate in.

Second, the thing about revenge – and especially at such a scale – is that one commits the crime, and another pays the price for a crime they may never even ideologically support. The aim should be to ensure that crime is not committed in the name of justice. I implore anyone reading this to spend a moment thinking about what could even possibly come out of an act of vengefulness.

Have we normalised all this?

That he could say this and get away without sanction then and there for his words, seems miserably affirmed by the fact that very few in that room questioned what he said, or even kept him in check.

Bystander intervention is not just exclusive to stepping in when an accident happens, but about checking microaggressions when they unfold. Taking a firm stand against fortified structural violence can go a long way in preventing an explosion of overt violence.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend this morning who suggested that he may have arguably been patriotic and placed his nationalism before anything else. Perhaps he believes that violence is an answer. Perhaps, these clarion calls were normalized in his mind. Perhaps, that he had been socialized to believe that it is okay to say such things.

And therein lies the problem: we have arrived at a difficult cross-roads where on the one hand, we’ve normalized microaggressions, and on the other hand, we have structures that have fortified on the foundation of these microaggressions that continue to keep them alive. As much as SP Sinha said what he did of his own free will, he is also reflective of the symptoms that inform of the much more serious issue that ails our society. And it’s up to us to change it.

Image source: YouTube

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