Mumbai, Dec. 10 -- Recently, another rape case (where a Delhi-based financial analyst was raped by the driver of the cab she was travelling in) brought to light the precarious situation of women's safety in the country.
As outraged crowds took to the streets to protest, several others expressed their anger on social networking sites, including a few Bollywood celebs. In a chat with Akshay Kumar, the actor puts forth his views on the issue of women's safety, and how Delhi - a city he was brought up in - has got a bad name because of such incidents.
As the father of a girl (two-year-old Nitara), how worried do you get when such incidents take place?
It scares me every day. I thought I was protective [about my daughter] before, but there's nothing that prepares you, as a parent, for the constant fear about your daughter's safety and happiness. I know it's my duty, as a father, to look after her, but I also expect my country's government to protect her. It's their job to make our streets safe. What are we paying taxes for if we can't even step outside the house without fear?
What do you think can serve as a solution for this situation?
We shouldn't think twice before ruining the lives of men who commit these crimes. The immediate punishment should be to castrate every person convicted on rape charges (sic). Rapists are never one-time offenders, and I feel that no amount of time in jail will make them want to stop committing these crimes. We need to put fear in men, instead of expecting women to walk around in fear every day. There is no excuse to not have a strict punishment for such inhumane behaviour.
You have been pushing for self-defence classes in schools for some time now. Do you think that will help tackle this problem?
It most definitely plays a vital role, but that's not the only solution. I can only offer protection and self-defence to a limited number of women, but what about the ones I can't reach? It breaks my heart to think that when women in several parts of India leave the house each day, it can't be guaranteed that they will return home safely and unharmed.
As someone who has grown up in Delhi, does this image of the Capital, as a city that is unsafe for women, bother you?
It pains me to see that this happens in our country, but it embarrasses me more to see that Delhi women seem to be at a bigger risk than women anywhere else. Knowing that this is happening in Delhi, on the streets where I grew up, disgusts me to the core. I can't imagine what so many women must be going through. I am sure if men lived in fear of being raped every time they went to work, this problem would not exist. This is not a fair society.
You are one of the few people from Bollywood to have spoken strongly about these issues on Twitter...
I'm not always around to speak up about every horrific incident that takes place, but when I can, I do. It's deplorable that even after all the efforts and awareness campaigns, women still face such despicable encounters on a daily basis. The reason men think they can rape and run is because they have no fear. The Delhi (cab driver) rapist was a previous offender, and he shouldn't even have been walking the streets, let alone working for a prestigious cab company.