This is disturbing at so many levels that I don’t know where to begin. The Delhi police has printed a booklet titled Security Tips for Northeast Students/Visitors in Delhi , which among other things, advises them to cover up to avoid being raped and not cook their ‘smelly’ food so there is ‘no ruckus in the neighborhood’. Firstly, there is the issue of “othering”. As many are pointing out, why on earth are people from the north-eastern states being singled out for this helpful advice? The comments about food and the insinuation that they dress in revealing clothes are totally unnecessary and indicative of attitudes that are, frankly, frightening. The fact that the police think like this essentially means that if there is a ‘ruckus’ in the neighbourhood, they will blame somebody for cooking what they want in their own house! Food habits are intensely personal and closely tied up with cultural identity and if people cannot eat what they want in their own house, we may as well trash all notions of being a multi-cultural, secular country.Secondly, for heaven’s sake, how long are women going to be told to ‘cover up’ to avoid ‘inviting’ rape? Delhi has a dismal record as the most unsafe city in the country for women. As usual, instead of addressing the perpetrators and doing more to make the streets safer, the focus is being shifted to the women. Don’t wear revealing clothes. Don’t go on dates. Don’t party late. Don’t walk the streets. What next? Should we just wear veils and stay at home since between the beastly tendencies of men (which they can’t control, apparently) and the hoary patriarchal attitudes of our legal and political institutions (not to mention, plain inefficiency), we are bound to get screwed (literally or otherwise)?
I’m sure we’re all very grateful for the father figure-ly advice but it would be nice if the police stopped printing paternalistic pamphlets and got down to some actual work.
Link via Anjulika.