Kathua, Unnao rape cases indicate drastic measures needed to bring perpetrators of sexual crimes to book

Why can the investigation of a rape in India, be it of a child or an adult, not be purely a police matter, in which no one else, including the politicians and bureaucracy, has any role?

Why does India not have a special victims' unit that deals with crimes of a sexual nature? After all, a large number of such crimes take place in the country. Even as the outrage continues over the assaults in Unnao and Kathua, there has been another incident of a minor being raped and killed after eight days of torture in the Bhestan area of Surat city.

 Kathua, Unnao rape cases indicate drastic measures needed to bring perpetrators of sexual crimes to book

Protests against the Kathua and Unnao rape cases. Reuters

The problem is the nexus between the impunity displayed by the perpetrators and the immunity offered by our social totem pole. A ghoulish act is turned into a circus spectacle which eclipses the unspeakable nature of the crime. The spotlight is focused on the righteous and plastic grandstanding of political luminaries. Their utterances and their mutual hatred take centrestage and divert attention from the progress of the probe and the action taken against the accused. Gradually, public attention dies and that is that. In the interim, the badmouthing and the now exhausting exchange of insults between the Congress and BJP are further underscored by orchestrated candlelight vigils and other displays of insincere and opportunistic concern.

Instead of demanding resignations, why doesn’t the Opposition camp outside the CBI headquarters and the concerned police headquarters to ensure that the accused are not protected? Because that protection is the major flaw in the criminal justice system.

Let me give you an example of what happened in the UAE. A 50-year-old man lured an eight-year-old boy and tortured him to death in May 2016. A year later, the man faced a firing squad. Such crimes carry a mandatory death sentence and the judicial procedures are gone through as per laws, but swiftly. There is no twenty-year wait.

No VIP enters the fray and uses influence, even if the accused is a local. No police personnel gets a message from the top telling them to look the other way. Nobody is bribed, nor is the evidence concealed. That is why people who live in these places know that certain crimes do not allow for pity or wriggle room. Punishment takes place in a relatively speedy manner. There is awareness that where drugs, attacks on women and children and gratuitous acts of violence are concerned, there will be no mitigating circumstances. This attitude ensure a much higher degree of safety.

Our laws need to be reworked so that crimes against children and women are dealt with expeditiously. A message needs to be sent that for such crimes, the price will have to paid, and paid sooner rather than later.

Enough with the words and the talk. Something drastic has to be done to stress the fact that perpetrators of sexual violence will not get away with their crimes, no matter how powerful their network is.

Updated Date: Apr 15, 2018 18:24:54 IST