You have failed the ‘Seven-Year Old’ Mr Parrikar!
Financial jugglery, media chutzpah and a general superiority over the Opposition politicians might be a draw and wow factor to many of your followers or critics. To me the greatest hallmark of a leader is his humility and simplicity; it is these qualities that allow him to look at each of his people with the same empathy and concern. Many will not agree with me and will criticize me post this article but the truth to me is always the truth.
It is nearing two months since the heinous rape of a seven-year old girl inside the Deep Vihar School in Vasco. I am not going to delve into what your police force has done so far on the case, you and I both know the efforts they have put in and also the glaring errors they have made on the case (reasons which will eventually come to fore, because you and I have always agreed that the Goa Police has so long being subjected to working in a manner that support criminals rather than the citizens; I know that you and DGP are working towards changing it and it will take time).
So if it not the case or nabbing of the rapist and accomplice, then what is my issue; you might inquire.
Well! It is simple. I want to know from you today. And I want the people of Goa the bear witness to it. In light of the fact that this family has gone through a disturbing trauma and while live with this trauma every single day henceforth, have you found that empathy in your heart as a leader to visit this now greatly disturbed family. Have you personally inquired about their welfare, besides working on the justice? If not you, has anyone of your senior Cabinet ministers done that, if you were preoccupied? At all times you called the father to your bungalow to meet you, even your MLA Milind Naik and MLA Carlos Almeida did the same; ask the family to meet them in their office.
The answer is no. You have neither visited this family nor have you called this family to inquire about their welfare or that of this innocent child who is now a survivor of this dastardly act. And neither have you delegated this responsibility to any of your ministers.
Many of your followers might find it ridiculous that I am raising a stink on what they would consider a petty issue; but to this family this incident can and will never be petty.
You have since the incident gone across Goa for various functions doing what it rightfully your duty as a Chief Minister. Does not visiting this family become a part of your duty as well? Your focus on the case is appreciated but it is not that you personally have gone out to nab the culprit. Interestingly, you have visited Vasco and the nearby constituencies several times after the incident but you never visited the family.
When we meet on February 17th at your residence with the father of the rape survivor, you even confirmed to the father and his friends that you would make it a point to visit the girl on February 19th sometime in the afternoon. But you never turned up, even though you had visited Dabolim for some official work on the same day.
Let me share with you another concern, which you, me, father of the rape survivor and his lawyer are privy too. During the course of our conversation with the father, you raised the issue about the integrity of his lawyer. The father in his naivety relayed this information to his lawyer, who called you up, asking you about the allegations you made. To defend yourself, you told his lawyer that you would have the father arrested for putting false allegation against you. You have the power to arrest the father for saying exactly what you said to his lawyer, but you don’t have the time at your hand to visit this family over the last seven weeks.
You see Mr Parrikar, the father and this family is feeling hopeless. And in my opinion he is under tremendous stress. And quiet understandably, it is only natural that he would be in that state. He wants justice for his child and the doors he is knocking, seem to be illusionary opened but in actuality he ends up banging his head against those walls. He is in a disturbed state and might not be able to handle this trauma further; some people around him keep fueling him towards taking an aggressive stand. But quiet frankly that does not benefit anyone.
You government talks about issuing grand schemes for women such as the Laadli-Laxmi schemes and set aside Rs 1 lac of tax-payer money to support the girl-child; but till today, you have not been even able to provide this seven-year old girl with day-to-day counseling to overcome this trauma and to get back on track. Your education department has not been able to swiftly move this girl and her sister to another school, so that the memories of this tragic incident are slowly forgotten. All you do is set-up committees and other frills to show the people of Goa that you are concerned about the incident.
Your 13-member police committee formed to monitor this case is like a bunch of lethargic and politically active officers who either do nothing on the case or stop good officers that you have appointed from doing their job.
It is nearing two months; this girl and her elder sister have not gone to school. And how can they, expecting them to go back to same school is a ridiculous. But till today not a single effort, from you or your government to bring this family back on track.
Justice, you and I both know is only half the battle, rehabilitation of the family is the second half. And you as the CM of Goa have done absolutely nothing on this front. It is as though you don’t care.
You might not like what I am saying, but then you know me as someone, who will call a spade a spade. I have sent you numerous reminders, that this family needs reassurances; they need to feel that their CM whom they have voted for cares for them; that justice will not be denied and that he will help put the family back on the track.
Is it not ironic, you can think so much about the mining-dependent who are in situation because of their own doing, running business in a speculative market, yet you have it in you to ensure that they are rehabilitated in some form or the other; but for this seven-year old and family I guess their one two votes does not matter to you.
To me, Mr Parrikar you have failed, because it is said that if can trust a man with small things, you can trust him with bigger things. This issue is small to you, but not to this family.