By ANSHUMAN BHARGAVA :
“If humans turn beasts and demons, do they deserve sympathy?” They deserve even to be heard? Can there be any admissible reason for their heinous act except animalistic lust and sadism?”
“Should we allow such pervert people to thrive amidst us and pose danger to our daughters and sisters? Can such brutality as inflicted upon the victims ever be accepted in a civilised society?”
THE encounter of the four rape accused in the Hyderabad incident may have garnered mixed responses from different quarters, with some sections even condemning the incident calling it extra-judicial and illegal, but one thing that goes unmissed is that this is completely a new thing in the history of Indian criminal addressing system and will be remembered for long for the swiftness with which the action was taken. In a democratic society, questions can and will always be raised on the justification of the action and there will always be opinions for and against it.
But one thing that no one can doubt and argue is the frustration that is simmering in the minds of the public in the backdrop of the growing incidents of rape in the country and the inability of the administration and the law courts to stop them. The police action is a culmination of this collective sense of helplessness that is bound to find vent in vengeful propensities. There is a limit to what and how far people can tolerate, beyond which human patience wears out and every action that can be a possible deterrent to further rapes, seems justified in the face of the goriness of the incidents. India is a growingly unsafe country before the world and people are being warned against travel to India given its volatile nature that makes human lives unsafe.
There are all kinds of laws and every kind of administrative check in place to minimise the possibilities of rape, yet there is no abatement in the number of incidents. Be it our megacities of promise and prosperity or the deprived remote village, rape is a common truth in all sections and classes of society, which is not only a law and order problem but a major ethical and moral concern as to what direction we are moving and what future we are looking at? When 50 per cent of the populace is in perineal danger of predators lurking around, how can a nation develop? If humans turn beasts and demons, do they deserve sympathy? Do they deserve even to be heard? Can there be any admissible reason for their heinous act except animalistic lust and sadism? Should we allow such pervert people to thrive amidst us and pose danger to our daughters and sisters?
Can such brutality as inflicted upon the victims ever be accepted in civilised society? People ask these questions which no one has an answer to. People often blame the police for negligence and lapses but the police are also humans and there is a limit to how much surveillance we can have. No country’s police can be present everywhere all the time. They are not omnipotent and cannot be omnipresent. There is no society where every inch of land and every corner of every house are fitted with CCTV cameras. In a country where rape happens inside homes, what hope do we have? How much can policing do if demons are lurking around to invade our streets and homes and pounce upon girls at every opportune moment they have? The ethical and moral rot in society aside, what we need today is a strong deterrent, a deterrent much stronger than the conventional punishment system that comes after years of legal plodding. We cannot treat rape with other types of crime and its punishment and legal provisions must be different and much more stringent for the kind of crime it is.
As we have seen, the legal provisions today are not proving much effective in stemming this social crisis and as such a review of the laws is imperative to make them more efficient in tackling rapists. Unless there is an ample fear in the minds of potential rapists of facing the worst, and that too in quick time, they would continue to destroy innocent lives. Given the overburdened Indian courts, we need many more fast track courts or exclusive courts to take up rape cases so that the verdict can be given in the shortest time. There must be time limits set for the hearing of appeals in higher courts and mercy pleas and they must not linger for years, which dilutes the effectiveness of the law and emboldens criminals. We have certain loopholes in the legal clauses which too need to be revisited and corrected.
The police need to be more proactive in pursuing these cases with probity. Any kind of political pressure on the police too must be taken seriously and anyone guilty in any way in supporting the culprits should be brought to book. The Government has to be more serious and unsparing without fear or favour so that no one has the temerity to support rapists or protest them for whatsoever reason. We need a much better legal and administrative framework to tame rape. If not the police, tomorrow people will be forced to take the law in their hands and give the treatment rapists deserve because they fear for their daughters and sisters— fear makes people mad.
The clamour for the public execution of rapists is gaining force even as many countries in the world give rapists no benefit of the doubt or chance to explain and instead simply execute them, even in public. In those countries, rape incidents are the rarest. We have to think and debate if it is time we needed such a rule of law to stop this crime. There is certainly a sense of invincibility in the rapists which makes them act the way they do because they see fair chances of being spared or escaping the legal clutches by hook or by crook. This recklessness breeds the audacity.
When we talk about the human rights of the culprits, we must also think of the human rights of the victims and their helpless parents and choose whose human rights are more valuable and need to be protected. By the way, when a man turns a demon, he has no space for humanity and doesn’t understand the language of love. He must be paid back in his own coin. That’s the best tribute to the precious souls we lose every second day to the horrendous fantasies of these beasts.