How Kerala Responds To Thasni Banu

by Women's Web on Jul 08, 2011      Category: Human Rights Tags: women's rights public spaces

Last month, Kerala witnessed another incidence of violence against women. On June 19th Sunday, Thasni Banu was on her way to work in Kochi on a bike driven by her friend. Oh, how can I forget? Her male friend and it was 10:30 pm. According to her statement in this interview (it is in Malayalam), Thasni was to reach office for her shift at 11pm. Since they had some time, Thasni and her friend decided that they would stop for tea. In search of a tea shop, they took a different route and did find one. When they realised that there was no tea in stock, her friend bought a cigarette and together they walked towards the bike which was parked in front of the shop.

At that time, an auto rickshaw driver parked his auto near the shop and said to her friend in a degrading tone, "Drop the girl back home." (Of course, translating the undertones from Malayalam to English is near to impossible). Her friend explained that he was dropping her off at her office, since she had a night shift and that she is just a friend. At that point, another person came by and asked them why they were standing there. Her friend repeated his earlier clarification. Both the driver and this person were drunk. Further, they asked him his name, address and even details on where exactly his house was located. He answered all of it.

Then he asked Thasni for her details. Thasni replied that she did not want to share her name or address with them. This, for all obvious reasons provoked them. Why would a woman not answer their questions when the man accompanying her could? This is the point when the encounter turns into a tussle. The second person starts shouting at her, saying that this is not Bangalore, but Kerala and that they would not allow anything like this to happen (like what?). An irate Thasni said, "What do you mean by this? Clarify your words. What behaviour is not possible here? This is a public space and I was talking to my friend. So what should we not do here?" By that time, a crowd had formed there and began supporting the men. Read the rest at Women's Web

 

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