Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Nirbhaya : Punish the Guilty


A girl goes out with her boy friend to watch a movie. She never returns home. Her body mutilated, raped and discarded like used paper napkin by the roadside. After thirteen days of struggle with death, she passes away. Society debates, what should be the punishment. Most of us are angry. We want exemplary punishment. But no body knows what is this exemplary punishment. I wish we were following Sharia law, so that we could stone these people to death. Or remove certain body parts, and let these people live. Alas, we claim ourselves to be a liberal democracy. We even tried and fed Ajmal Kasab. So these six monsters will also be tried and hopefully convicted. 

Many have suggested death penalty for rapists. It has also 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 biological science and its power. I, however, think that death penalty is too easy an way out for rapists. These brutes must be locked up for rest of their lives, without parole.

Another twist to the punishment debate comes from the fact that one victim is 6 month short from adulthood. It is being reported that apart from the leader of the gang, this person was one of the most brutal in his treatment of the girl. Yet there is debate that this person should be treated as a juvenile. In case that happens, this brute will be out in 3 years time. I think, it t will be cruel joke. Irrespective of his age, the act he committed was done under full consciousness. He was aware of the gravity that is why he absconded. He inserted an iron rod inside the victims body. How can this monster get away serving only 3 years? If he is unleashed on the society more women are likely to fall prey to his behaviour. He is a sadist. He gets pleasure when his victim cry in pain. He must be locked up for life or castrate him before release. Society must go by the spirit of law not by letter alone. Irrespective of age, if someone is inclined to commit adult crime they must be punished accordingly.

It has been argued that present hue and cry about the rape is because the girl is from a middle class family. However, I think the girl is actually from a low middle class family that had modern outlook. The family wanted to educate their daughter and aspired to get out of rural poverty. Reason society could identify with her torment and grief was because she represents any or all of us in some form. She represented a normal young woman looking forward to her life, minding her own business. No body should have anything to object to her life style or way of thinking. She could be anyone of our daughter or daughter in law or wife. In India, if women cannot walk free, then India need not call her a democracy.



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