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December 16 has made women stronger: Tarun Tejpal and Justice Ganguly's case a testament
December 16 is still remembered for the infamous and the heinous gang rape incident of a 23-year-old paramedical student who took her last breath on 29 December, after failing to cope with her medical condition. It was a brutal case where six men raped the girl in a moving bus. This incident angered citizens of the country, where a number of people irrespective of their age and gender came out in the open and demanded action against the rapists. It was not only in Delhi that people took up to the streets to show solidarity, but it all soon spread to other parts of the country. A new India was born then.

It has been exactly a year since the incident. Has life changed after December 16 or is it the same for Indian women? Has India become a safer nation? How have the politicians changed after the incident?

Kavita Krishnan, a female activist feels that the incident has brought some positive change. She said, ''I think that one big change that needs to be welcomed is that now it is not only rape and murders, which are recognised as big issues, but also sexual harassment in work place.'' In recent times we have heard about a number of high profiled sexual harassment cases, including respected Indian personalities such as Tarun Tejpal and Justice Ganguly. They did what was not expected from them. It took the nation by surprise.

Such cases are coming to the forefront, which was rolled under the carpet in the past. Girls were scared to voice against their superior. But, Nirbhaya's case has given Indian women a courage to speak up, a courage to fight for their right, a courage to make India a better place for women to reside. ''The number of girls coming up and speaking about such cases are increasing, as they are also sure that they would receive support, '' says Krishnan.

What made Nirbhaya's case more encouraging was the number of young boys, who felt the need and urge to save Indian women, as the next Nirbhaya could be their own sister or friend. The young boys gathered in front of the parliament in protest, took water canons to their chest, fought policemen, slept in the protests area. They were present there not just to make up the numbers but also fight for the other gender, who were considered vulnerable.

Nirbhya case has changed things now. Women have become stronger. Tarun Tejpal's case is a strong testimony to the said fact. The female journalist working for Tehelka, who was sexually assaulted by the founder of the organisation, Tarun Tejpal spoke about the incident to his male colleagues. ''The Tehelka journalist being able to tell her male colleague about the incident is an important change in our society.''

But, still a lot is left to be done with politicians, judiciary, police and other institutions resisting changes in their own way. Even after the incident, politicians are coming up with sexist remarks, which does not auger well for India. She adds, ''From above the change is yet to be seen, but from below the changes have already started.''

In this context, she feels that Justice Ganguly's sexual harassment case is a test case. ''If he has been accused of such a major sexual harassment case, who was working with him, he has to be removed from his post. It is a test for everyone.''

One girl in her mid 20s, who wished to remain anonymous summed up the change, if any that has been brought about by the Nirbhaya case, and said, ''After the 16 December incident, the only good change brought about is that the girls are coming out and are complaining about the wrong incidents in their life. Before the Nirbhaya case, it was a big taboo in Indian society, but now the women are out of this taboo closet. Some of the good examples to prove this are Tejpal, Justice Ganguly and Asaram's case. But still the Indian Judiciary system needs to change to get the culprits punished as early as possible.''

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