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Government failed to reach out to rape protestors: Shobhaa De

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Thu, Jan 10, 2013 11:40 hrs

Kolkata, Jan 10 (IANS) Renowned novelist and columnist Shobhaa De Thursday expressed dissatisfaction at the way the Indian government handled the public outrage after the Dec 16 Delhi gang-rape, saying it failed to reach out to protestors.

"The ruling class has not changed. The arrogance is still there. Who went out to meet the protestors when Nirbhaya was struggling for her life? Nobody," said De, using the name for the girl that an English-language daily had coined.

"They all were cowering inside their homes refusing to talk to those protestors and saying the government doesn't go to the people. That was the comment made by one of our cabinet ministers, which was shocking," said De, referring to a comment that had been made by Union Home Minister Shushilkumar Shinde, while launching her latest book "Sethji" at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Fest here.

According to De, "Sethji" which begins with the brutal rape of a student from one of the northeastern states of the country, reflects the change in society of which the author herself is a part.

"For the last ten years, when I was writing non-fiction, I felt it was important to chronicle change in India. Change is very cataclysmic and that is why the journalist in me kicked in. Because I wanted to reflect the change which I was part of, which I was living through, and which was worth documenting as it happened," De remarked.

However, nothing has changed as far as the status of woman in the country is concerned, she said.

"Nothing has changed. If at all, the brutality is more exaggerated. It is more upfront because media being pro-active and more aggressive, we have begun to hear about it and we get protests on the streets which perhaps ten years ago would have been unthinkable," said De.

Public protests were held in New Delhi and other parts of the country after the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in a moving private bus on the night of Dec 16 in the national capital. The woman died of injuries in a Singapore hospital Dec 29.

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