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Farhan Akhtar: If Our Children Are Not Safe In Supposedly Posh Schools, Where Are They Safe?

Farhan Akhtar
Farhan Akhtar

Like all of us, the murder of the 7-year old child at a posh school in Gurugram has left filmmaker-actor-activist Farhan Akhtar shell-shocked.

“I am numbed. Words fail me. We speak about crime and then move on. This is the mistake that we make and this is what encourages crime. The lack of accountability and  sustained protest….The most frightening thing is, that the monster who did this horrific deed to the child thought he would get away with something so ….so….inhuman,” says Farhan badly shaken by the gruesome crime.

“I can’t even begin to imagine what the child’s parents are going through.As parents we all have reason to feel very very concerned. You say people like us are empowered and privileged and therefore relatively safe.I disagree with you. Because when my children go to school their parents are  not with them. They are as vulnerable as any other child from any section of society.  It is therefore the school’s responsibility to ensure  their safety. I think the school administration has failed  not just the child but also proved how damaged our system is,” says Farhan wondering how such potential criminals are employed to protect children.

“I mean, we are talking about the most vulnerable section of our society, the children.Had they cross-checked this  monster’s credentials  before employing him?” wonders Farhan.

Some  time  ago, one of the female employees Pallavi Purkayasthafrom Farhan’s company had been violated and  killed by the watchman of her building whose credentials were unverified.

“To save  some  money you employ dubious people to look after homes and schools.What could be  more careless and  irresponsible? We  immediately need to pass stricter laws against careless employment of unverified people. Because whether they are potential criminals or not is not written on their faces. How do we know that the watchman employed to protect our homes or the bus conductor employed to drive children to school is trustworthy?” asks Farhan.

He also feels that empowered sections of society do  not  exercise enough clout to stop these crimes. “Don’t just point fingers at actors. It could be any empowered/privileged  individual or organization. We all must join forces to make sure that no potential criminal feels he can get away a crime as heinous as the one committed by that bus conductor in Gurugram.”

As  an actor Farhan feels he can’t play anti-socials . “Maybe  some years ago when crime was not so brutal barbaric…unthinking. Now….I doubt I will ever play a serial killer, rapist or  a  child molester  just because it would challenge me as an actor. What about the much greater challenge that face as nation to protect our vulnerable sections?We who have

​ a voice​

must think twice before  using that  voice.”