Saturday, January 5, 2013

Nirbhaya Gone : India a Long Way to Go


Think about this. A girl tries to reach home after a movie. Takes a bus. She is raped by six men, her intestines ripped apart, while she is alive. She is thrown out to die without any clothing. No one calls a police for nearly an hour.

Police argue about jurisdiction. She is sent to Safdurjung hospital as per police manual. Chief minister to score point over police, makes the girl repeat her statement. Remember girl was in so much pain that morphine was not making her drowsy, it was keeping her awake. Yet chief minister of Delhi had to play politics using the girl as pawn. Home minister, Home Secretary decided to transfer the girl to Singapore. Why, because they wanted to show they care. Why not put the girl in a private hospital in India? Why Safdurjung, a dirty cesspit of a hospital? I think these people knew she will not make it, why not get some goodwill at her expense, after all elections are coming. If anything bad happens, always pass the buck onto Singapore hospital. These are our leaders. They do not do their job. But they will suck up last bit of electoral mileage out of a dying person.

Then there are people, well meaning committed, who want the most brutal of the six be tried in a juvenile court. They want to reform this person. This monster who raped the girl twice, who extracted her gut when she was alive, is beyond reform. He did this activity with full consciousness. He drank tea and watched music video after committing the crime. He ran away to his village knowing fully well the gravity of his act. Yet this devil incarnate to be tried in juvenile court because his birth certificate says he is 17.5 years and not 18 years. Firstly we should go by the gravity of crime and not by the age of criminal. Was he thinking that a living breathing humanis nothing different from a rag doll? Secondly, is there a lot of difference in mental age between 17.5 and 18 years? Law must be read by both letter and spirit. In this case if we go by the letter, then we would do great injustice to Nirbhaya. If we release this animal on the street after 3 years, we shall send wrong signal to people like him and endanger others. We all know anyone can produce fake certificate unsung money and / muscle or simply report wrong age in school to get benefit later.

There is a debate what should be the punishment of a rapist? There is no denying that it has to be stringent. Many have suggested death penalty for rapist. It has been argued that a rapist may kill the victim if death penalty is likely to be invoked on him. I find this argument hollow. I think if victim is killed, the rapist will likely be charged for both rape and murder. Obviously police should not rely on the testimony of deceased alone, never mind how crucial. Police should rely on DNA matching, cellular debris matching that of accused, hair samples, biological secretions etc. these will never lie if analysis is done in an accredited lab along with appropriate controls. One can very easily nail a culprit/s using proper forensic evidence. Any argument on the contrary is our incompetence in changing law, our ignorance of bio logical science and its power. However, I think death penalty is too easy an way out for rapists. These brutes must be locked up for rest of their lives, without parole. I am glad many states are recommending life in prison without parole for rapists.

Let the rest of the world call us brutes. No one thinks of us very highly anyway. It is important to show people Indian law has some teeth. If we do not punish the most brutal juvenile, then we shall be failing Nirbhaya. Ideally punishment should be so severe, that criminals would think twice before such act. But we are what we are, lock up the animal for rest of his life. A person of the inclination of the present juvenile, will never reform.

It is good that distraught family of Nirbhaya is getting some succor financially. Nirbhaya was a good soul as her sad demise has shown . She has touched so many lives totally unknown. I hope government announcement actually materialises, and does not remain as lip service. I shall also hope and pray that government does not assume that by giving financial hetlp its reponsibility ends. Actually, government must go extra mile to implement police reform, to ensure effective policing, efficient conviction, speedy justices to victims of sexual offence. Please ensure no other Nirbhaya has to sacrifice her life in the alter of male lust.

There are many Nirbhayas dying everyday throughout India. They are not wearing revealing clothes and asking for it, as many apologists of rape will tell us. They are not partying all night. They simply are trying to reach home at the end of the day. They are from middle class and lower middle class familiies, who do not hire a cab or whose family do not own a car. For them, our government does not think it is important to improve public transport system. Police do not listen to them. Their cases are not registered, people simply ignore them and go about their business. Next time you vote, think about this.

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