The rape victim in Unnao had to suffer severely, carrying the stigma on her head for nearly a year, running from post to pillar to get an FIR registered with the police, and braving to pursue a case, aware of the consequences. True to her apprehension, on her way from her village home to catch an early morning train to attend the court proceedings at Allahabad, the rapist released on bail appears to douse her with petrol and set her on fire.
Media and Social networks are again as vociferous in their protests, most condemning it and a few pathetic ones blaming the ruling party at the state and the centre. The malady has become a state of mind for a few; both criminals and the politicians quickly exploiting the situation.
Judiciary, the only pillar of our democracy has faltered in stretching even rarest of the rare criminal cases far beyond endurance of the common man. Political leaders committing rapes and the victims slapped with blackmailing charges have become common. The government, the police and the judiciary have become intolerant in tolerating the delay in closing these cases over technical grounds.
The perpetrators of a similar rape and murder at Kamduni in West Bengal, despite being sentenced to hang in 2016 are still alive and kicking. There has been a rape in Goa, in Darbhanga-Bihar and Malda-West Bengal, besides the Hyderabad one, the last where the criminals were shot dead while trying to flee (!) The CJI of the Supreme Court today stated that ‘Justice loses character when it becomes revenge.
UP has been a lawless state, not now but for as long as I remember. Revenge killings and rapes are common in their caste-ridden society. Threatening of the family of the victims by the police and the politicians ensures the safety of the criminals. When the UP government swung into action and started apprehending the criminals, including many encounters, the activists and the political opposition rose in protest, while the common people breathed in relief.
An encounter is not the solution in a just, civilised society. The police have to indulge in the elimination of criminals because no sooner the criminals are arrested, either the politicians get them freed, or the lawyers get them out on bail, and their nefarious and rampaging activities continue. The criminals play a crucial role during the elections, spreading fear and ensuring votes for criminal leaders. This nexus can only be broken by debarring leaders with criminal backgrounds, to ensure stoppage of crimes by their henchmen.
The crimes, are not related to any particular party or state and must be weeded out. I am bewildered at an imbecile opposition leader, who claims that ‘India is the rape capital of the world.’ Such demeaning statements not only are mischievous in further precipitating a fear and creating anarchy in the country.
My heart goes to the families of the victims, and the hapless parents who become paranoid for even a few minutes delay of their wards return. Without going into the legalities or moralities of the Hyderabad encounter, it must have a salutary effect in discouraging repeats. A genuinely committed battery of lawyers and fast track courts must provide some respite from the shame of rapes. Rest would be a long process of cleansing the political system and the mindset, which is easier said than done!