The above picture was taken from Alleppey-Bokharo Express.
It reads :
Harassing women passengers is a punishable offence.
Any obscene remarks, teasing, touching, stares, gestures, songs and unwanted attention are all forms of sexual violence, punishable by up to two years or a fine under section 354A, 509 and 294 under Indian Penal Code and section 145 and 152 of the Railways Act.
I happened to notice this information on my way back from the rest room; strategically placed inside the train, near the entrance. I don’t know how or why I missed this pin up before but it sure did make me think for a while about the privileges a woman enjoy. I mean, do we men have any act that is even remotely close to this??? Don’t women harass men at all? The stories would be less in number, but I am sure there are. And they claim men and women are equal. Hmmph!!! It is not that we men aren’t afraid of women. Sometimes, men are too scared to react or behave in front of a woman thinking of the consequences. There are certain women who are simply unpredictable and who get offended very easily and believe me, such women ARE dangerous. However well mannered the man is, our Indian law/society would not believe him even if the woman makes a false / misunderstood allegation. That’s not fair, is it?
I returned to my seat with those Acts, Penal Codes and the newly developed inequality feeling in my mind. There was a middle aged woman in the same compartment. Gawd, I have this habit of singing or humming constantly and now I do have to think twice before I could do so. I had to be sure that the song didn’t have bad lyrics, vulgar picturisation or an ill famed actress? Aargh!!! Or even an inappropriate situation to sing the song would be enough for me to taste the bitterness of trouble. What if she stares at me for no reason, I can’t even return the stare!! I was getting settled in my seat when my Aquafina bottle fell and landed up near her foot. Oooooops, I just harassed her; that was an unwanted attention !!!