Much as I am ashamed of the rapes in Kathua and Unnao, I take exception to being told that I should be ashamed of India or being Indian. This self-indulgent breast beating and self-flagellation is dangerous, because it obscures the bigger picture. We scream and shout, and then feel purged. Later, we move on and the issue is over for us, until the next rape. We did our bit, didn’t we?
In every society, there are some very evil people who do not deserve to be called human beings. To an extent, they are a product of our system and the negative aspects associated with it. The ability to engage in violence and get away with it is given leeway due to brute power, nepotism, caste arrogance, religion, a dated investigation process, a feeble judiciary and a moribund police force. Savagery has never really disappeared from the human race, and the weak and the poor are easy game. Nor is justice served in an equal manner.
The basic flaw is that the powerful still believe they can get away with the unspeakable, and to a great extent, they do. The failure is in the system and its dated applications. For wealthy persons accused of crimes, bail bonds too are of small amounts.
What saving grace is there in an eight-year-old child being tortured to death in Kathua? What possible reason can there be to give this ghoulish act a communal or religious angle?
The beating up of the father of a rape survivor and his subsequent death in police custody in Unnao would make one's hair stand in outrage. That it takes insistent media attention to get the political will to wake up and act is a gruesome truth. It is as gross as the need to see suspects of rape and murder through a political prism and slow down investigation and arrests due to legislative council polls to be held on 26 April. It appears that Kuldeep Singh Sengar, one of the accused in the rape case is a local strongman and the BJP needs his presence. Really...I mean, really? Goons that may have been his people killed the victim’s father, and there is concern about the political fallout.
The overhaul has to be total in its nature. India has to revisit its legal system, and the only pressure that will work is that of the younger generation waking up and mobilising itself. Not by burning vehicles and rioting, but by creating a sense of national oneness and by saying that this will not be our legacy. An example of this is the mobilisation of the youth in the US over gun laws there.
At the moment, the protests are sporadic and have no staying power. The next generation must demand action and better punitive measures for acts of such cruelty. It must seek a complete overhaul of the dynamics of crime and punishment. This awakening is mandated, and must begin now. The change should reflect in our statute not for one day or one week. but forever.
Not to do this would be truly shameful.
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Updated Date: Apr 14, 2018 15:26:51 IST