The night shift workers stood by the tea stalls sipping on their morning elixir and the early morning commuters fleeted around the platform, scampering to their respective trains to get to work. Chennai being an early morning city seemed to be dwelling in its complete sense of normalcy. The sun was up and bright, the temple bells had begun ringing and the traffic had started thronging the roads. It was a new morning and just like every other day, no one around expected even the slightest drift from their mundane monotony.
She would have walked past the beggars lining the steps that lead to the raised station platform and held her nose at the sharp stench from the “Pay and Use Toilets” built at the top of the stairway. She would have probably been lost in thought of the day’s work as she took her place on the bench facing her designated platform. As a budding engineer who made her mark under the sun with thorough dedication and hard work, Swati was yet another archetype Indian girl with dreams and aspirations of her own. She wore a simple churidaar and adorned a tiny bindi and was probably looking forward to another day of learning and growing at her job. Little did she know that her day had been planned a whole lot differently than how she had thought it out to be!
Swati, a 24 year old woman, was stabbed multiple number of times on a crowded, busy platform, before she passed away at 6:40am on 24th June, 2016. Not only is it appalling to know that this is the 5th murder happening in broad daylight in Chennai in just the month of June, but it is also heart wrenching to hear that her body lay on the platform, in a pool of blood, for 2 hours, before the police could arrive at the crime scene. Thousands of passers by would’ve royally walked past her. They would’ve turned around to see her lying dead, shaken their heads in dismal and then turned back to board their trains thinking about how they would now have a mouth-widening topic to gossip and prod about at work.
A woman was assaulted in front of a thousand people, by a random stalker, ended up losing her life, and all we could do was stare, look away and pass by it without caring. All those people who walked past without heeding to her cries of pain would’ve probably been passing futile sympathetic remarks while seeing the news on the TV or reading about it in the paper the next morning. As shocking as it is to see the hike in number of cold blooded murders and other anti-social activities, it is even more distressing to see the dearth of humanity amidst the rest of us. We may not have committed any sort of a major crime, but turning a blind eye to these events, continuing to be submerged in our pathetic state of selfishness and deciding to not pay much attention to them because all this is apparently ‘none of our business’ is just as much a felony.
It’s been more than a week now. The Police have arrested two alleged suspects and sent out identification details of the actual assaulter. That heartless murderer is still out there. He’s walking the streets free when Swati’s family is mourning the agony of her demise. No one came up to report a word. No eye witness helped. We let an innocent woman die and a ruthless man get away. What have we done?