Dhanyashree, a 20-year-old B.Com student, committed suicide at her residence in Chikkamagalur, Karnataka on Saturday. The police retrieved death note that states the reason for the suicide is alleged moral policing by Hindutva factions.
The note states that a few boys, including BJP Youth Wing Leader, Anilraj, had barged inside Dhanyashree’s house and had harassed her and her mother as she had been found talking to a Muslim man. The group alleged that she was becoming a victim of ‘Love Jihad’.
The note also said that the incident had ruined her personal life and education.
Series of events
It was reported that on Friday (January 5) Dhanyashree was chatting with her friend Santhosh when the conversation steered towards the futility of fighting over caste and religion. In reply to a question asked by Santhosh, she had replied, “I love Muslims”. At first, Santhosh warned her against having any relationship with Muslims, which she opposed. Later, he shared the screenshot of their conversation with local Bajrang Dal and Visha Hindu Parishad (VHP) members. The screenshot went viral, causing mental and emotional agony to Dhanyashree and her family.
The police, after recovering the death note, have registered a case of abetment to suicide. They have arrested Anilraj, and two teams have been instructed to arrest the others involved in the incident. A massive manhunt has been launched for the main accused, Santhosh. The police also recovered the girl’s phone and discovered that picture where the girl was seen with the boy from another community was circulated widely, mostly by the pro-Hindu activists, through social media platforms.
“Many have made comments on the picture on social media platforms. We will arrest all those who harassed her either orally or through social media. We have taken the case seriously, and our teams are working to arrest all the accused”, the SP told The Hindu.
The Logical Indian take
Dhanyashree was forced to take her own life as she could not bear the harassment and bullying. It is unfortunate how in a so-called secular nation, a section of individuals dissuade inter-community interaction. Their intolerance has reached such levels that they abuse and torture those with a difference of opinion. Today, it is Dhanyashree; tomorrow it will be someone else. It is vital that start a discourse around this issues and spread a message of communal harmony.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.