With rising number of molestation and rape cases in India, there’s an increasing need to enforce more police vigilance on the streets. But in spite of the authorities’ promises, a 74-year-old Dalit grandmother’s fight to keep her granddaughters safe is a heartbreaking story to tell.
Pappathi and her five granddaughters live in a makeshift house on a Thrissur street in Kerala. Four months ago, one of her minor granddaughters was assaulted by 4 men. In spite of registering a complaint, these men roam freely on the streets. Pappathi, who lives in poverty stays up all night to make sure her granddaughters sleep safe and sound.
A few years ago, one of Pappathi’s older daughters in Tamil Nadu, abandoned her daughters. Pappathi took them on and has been raising them on her own. But this has been anything but easy.
The unoccupied land in her makeshift home is covered with nothing but a blue sheet as roof. Her pleas to the government to help her build a house (which will ensure a minimum form of safety for her granddaughters) has been floating around in Chinese whispers from local collectors to Panchayats, only to result in disappointment and anxiety.
According to the report, her little home is surrounded by media outlets and politicians alike, cameras and promises pore, prod and implore her plight. But there has been no tangible relief provided to her. Pappathi still stands vigilant all night to protect her family.
Sharmila, the second of her granddaughters, speaking to The News Minute, says, “The MLA made a huge fuss about visiting us, declaring that he would help us. But he didn’t even enter our house despite us asking him to. Maybe he thought it was too dirty for him to step foot in. Politicians only know the way to our house ahead of elections.”