Sunday, Jun 26, 2022
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‘Can’t Compare Brutal Gang-Rape With Forced Oral Sex’

Feminist lawyer Flavia Agnes, on the implications of the new rape law, especially in the context of the Mahmood Farooqui rape case

‘Can’t Compare Brutal Gang-Rape With Forced Oral Sex’
‘Can’t Compare Brutal Gang-Rape With Forced Oral Sex’ Photograph by Apoorva Salkade

Feminism, in its essence, is a movement for equ­ality and justice for all. Feminism does not stomp out nuance; it trains us to highlight that which has been inv­isibilised by majoritarian opinion and attitudes. It seeks to unite a world that has been divided by gender, race and class distinctions. In the context of the recent Mahmood Farooqui rape case, opinions have been deeply divided on both the judgement and the quantum of punishment awarded. There have been calls for expressing outrage on social media that suggest that those who do not publicly condemn the acc­used are being hypocritical and betraying the feminist principles they have espoused so far. In an environment where facts, doubts and nuances are struggling to find space for expression, Natasha Badhwar spoke to Flavia Agnes, a feminist lawyer and legal activist, to understand both the implications of the new rape law and the specificities of this case where an accused has been sentenced to seven years in jail for performing forced oral sex. Excerpts:

In the context of the Mahmood Farooqui rape case, opinions are deeply divided on the conviction and sentencing. As a lawyer and a feminist, what is your take on the 2013 amendment to the law that has widened the definition of rape and prescribed a minimum sentence of seven years?

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