Are rapes in the country becoming more and more violent or are they now just getting reported in every horrific detail? This question came to the fore after seven men subjected a young 23-year-old paramedic to bestiality beyond rape aboard a moving private bus in south Delhi this week.
All this girl had done was go for a movie with a friend at a plush south Delhi mall. Heading home around eight at night, the two took an auto to a nearby locality and waited for a bus to take them to where the girl lived in west Delhi. When a private bus stopped for them, they boarded it, with little premonition of the nightmare that lay in wait on board the bus.
The men on the bus passed lewd comments, to which the girl’s friend objected. And that became the basis for a 40-minute ordeal in which the girl was barbarically raped, her friend beaten up and an iron rod inserted inside her so mercilessly that it tore up her internal organs. Their animal instinct satiated, the drunken men threw them out like trash on the road. A police vehicle rushed them to the hospital after a toll plaza patrol tipped them off about a young couple lying sprawled by the roadside in a semi-nude condition. Doctors at the hospital she was brought to were stunned at the extent of her brutalisation. “The patient is very critical,” Safdarjung Hospital spokesman S.N. Makwana told Outlook.
The horrors she was subjected to has left everyone shuddering and seething with impotent rage. The media debate swung to the other extreme, asking for death penalty for the rapists. Ordinary, middle-class people and student’s groups staged protests, gheraoing politicians and demanding a few answers. The demand for death penalty seemed to be almost universal, with some so incensed as to advocate castration. Since the incident happened in New Delhi, and while Parliament was in session, MPs across the political spectrum too joined in the outrage and demanded death for the barbaric criminals.
Beyond these drastic recriminations, however, lie larger issues. What, in the first instance, provokes a group of men to turn into absolute monsters and revel in a gory orgy? What do these growing stories of brutal rape, molestation and violence, almost sickeningly routine episodes in our lives, tell us about post-liberalisation India? What explains India having the third-highest rate of rape in the world, beaten only by the US and South Africa in this shameful statistic?
Such incidents also stem from the conflicted, complex attitudes in traditional male-dominated society towards women. Which is why some of our policemen and other male guardians of society believe that certain kinds of women “deserve this” or are “asking for it”. It’s exactly the kind of attitude that was on show across molestation incidents outside pubs and bars in Guwahati, Mangalore and Gurgaon last year. The crowds seemed to revel in the sight of these women being humiliated.
It is also unfortunate that it has to take an incident of such savage proportion for public disgust and rage to build up to this level, when women from the lower strata of society across the country are subjected to brutality and rape on a regular basis. “Our reactions cannot be based on a single incident,” says Supreme Court lawyer Kirti Singh, who is part of the draft committee that recommended changes in the rape laws. “What we need is time-bound investigation and strong law enforcement, along with a sensitised approach towards rape. The system will have to take into consideration that rape is not just a crime but an assault on the emotional state of a person. We’ve been pursuing the home ministry for an amendment in the rape laws since 1993.”
For instance, in the United States, a rapist has to serve his sentence sequentially—if charged with rape, he has to serve sentences for other violations like forcible confinement, abduction, violence etc separately. In India, on the other hand, the perpetrator can get away by serving a sentence concurrently. Charges like beating, abduction etc get subsumed under the larger charge of rape, which invites a mandated sentence of seven to ten years in prison, after which a person can walk out free.
The driver of the bus was arrested late on Monday, said the police, and his vehicle seized. However, the bus had been washed, perhaps destroying a lot of the forensic evidence. Five other suspects have been identified as well. No doubt, these men will be served with exemplary punishment. But it will take more than just hanging these men to kill the larger beast within society.
By Chandrani Banerjee and Amba Batra Bakshi
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Rape, a Social evil
Since the incident of rape of a 23 years-old paramedical student in a private bus in Delhi took place, over the past few days , many proposals and suggestions have come from various corner for exemplary punishment of the accused. Some suggested for amendment of law related to rape by introducing death penalty for such heinous crime .Few proposals are to take stringent steps to ensure justice to the victims. It is interesting to note that we are demanding more stringent steps and amendment of law to ensure death penalty of the accused . On the other hand, we involve ourselves in gossiping about the social stigma attached to rape. We, the members of this so called society, should be more positive in mind first to ensure safe place to the victims in the society throwing aside the negative thinking of stigma from the mind of the inhabitants of this society. There is no doubt about it that the increasing number of rape cases in various cities of the country indicates the poor ‘law and order ‘ situation and administrative inactivity to control the situation and to provide minimum security to its people. The incident of of rape in Delhi is not the first one in this country. There are so many cases happened earlier and still happening everyday in many cities, towns. villages. We do not even care to know the fate of the victim or we do not try to know the actual reason of the fact happened. We all feel sorry to read the story and actually enjoy the news at the tea table or at a restaurant while passing the idle moment. We should change ourselves to change the others to act in a right way.
It is very difficult to understand what causes a man to rape. Can any one answer ? I think , it is an age-old factor since the relation of man and women started long before . Once upon a time, we were savage and lived in a male dominated primitive group where women were used for pleasure and reproduction only. The world has now been changed with the passage of time and its people became civilized . Now the relation between man and woman has been chained in a social bindings with the concept of family. We can not forget that grim reality and our basic instinct. The men ,who can not control their primitive urge and lust, commit such sexual crime. In the same manner, a man also may be a victim in the hands of a woman/ women too. A few such incidents had been happened and reported earlier.. We ,sometimes , describe it as a mental disorder of a person arisen out of perversion. To find the solution, we all the time put our mind diverted from the root of the problem . ‘The incidents of rape’ should be called a social evil and it should be eradicated from the mind of the people as well as from the society.
Now come to the law related to rape . The meaning of ‘rape’ has been defined and described in section 375, and the punishment, in section 376 of IPC. The definition of ‘rape’ and ‘the punishment’ described in section 375 and 376 of IPC, in all the time, may be considered with the situation occurred at a point of time and the manner and intentions involved into the action in regard to punishment of an accused . There are so many reasons and point of law may be involved and discussed while disposing a case in a court of law. The unwanted delay in proceedings is a factor that may help the offenders to escape the law. The trial must be speedy to give justice to the victim. The law related to rape may be amended to introduce capital punishment as maximum punishment in such cases where the life of a victim is in danger. But we should not forget that the most stringent laws in the world are useless unless there is the will to enforce them.
Manas Mukhopadhyay, Chinsurah, Hooghly, W.B
Evil is always on the move, and yes we do have to face the truth of what has happened to this girl and her friend. After all this i see only a blame game and fingers pointing towards the authorities like one evil is giving rise to another one. The pain and suffering of the girl cannot be felt by any of us unless we have gone through the same nor can it be substituted by the punishment or blaming the authorities. I just prayer for the victim and its family for the hope which we all together can give as one nation as one people of goodness.
1. I would tend to agree that the law should be amended so that in case of a complaint by a woman involving consensual sex (except through legal marriage), the onus should be on the man to prove he is innocent. This would tremendously speed up trials and increase conviction rates.
2. Irrespective of the best laws inplace, detterence would work only if there is a time bound trial completion and award of punishment within 100 days. Chemical castration and death punishment should be options available depending on the intensity of the crime.
3. The bane of India has always been corruption which is at the root of misgovernance and total lack of accountability at all levels of governance. Unless the issue of corruption is first dealt with, trying to solve any other issue is like applying band-aid to a cancer victim.
4. This has been happening all along - an outrageous crime gets committed, there is a media and public outcry, the government comes with a band-aid solution and the public is lulled into thinking that the issue has been solved. Unfortunately if the disease is cancer, no aspirin, no band-aid, no antibiotic works except providing temporary relief. The options are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation and more often all the three are required depending on the stage of cancer.
>>Yes, I am for castration and/or hanging of Shiney Ahuja if proved in the court that he did rape his maid.
>>Yes, I am for castration and/or hanging of Shiney Ahuja if proved in the court that he did rape his maid.
The court did sentence him on the basis of medical reports of injuries to the victim, Shiney himself had confessed to rape when arrested by the police.
You yourself have perfectly illustrated what lay behind the empty rhetorics calling for castration, capital punishment. I stick to calls for imprisonment and not gory punishments that will brutalize the entire society
K Suresh >> The blame lies more with judiciary than with police. Why do cases related to rape/assault on women drag on for years ? What is the reason behind the snail pace ? Easy bails to accused, arbitrary adjournments, inordinate delays and poor conviction rates demoralise police force.
Judiciary in India has been a holy cow, never challenged. Now that people are seeing the way Motor Mouth Katju is exposing his unholiness, let us hope that judiciary's dark underbelly is uncovered. Again the objective should be to make the whole judicial process efficient and accurate (and not to enact a Arundathy Roy in abusing judiciary only to push for anarchy)
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