(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)
Kahuta (J & K) and Unnao (UP) rapes/murders have assumed political overtones what with Rahul Ghandy (RG) and the Congress Party doing candle light marches all over the country to score political brownie points over its arch rival Modi and the BJP.
Even the UN Chief has commented adversely on the Unnao rape.
What are the realities of the scourge of rapes?
Modi, the Prime Minister, broke his silence during the inauguration of B. R. Ambedkar Memorial at New Delhi on 13 April 2018 and assured the nation that “no criminal will be spared. Justice will be done. Our daughters will get justice.”
My issue with PM is simple. Is it going to be a time-tested ‘delaying politics’ stratagem? Or, will the PM deliver the promise in a time bound or specific manner?
If Modi wants to regain credibility, he must strike decisively at the culprits without any further delay and put them behind bars.
Immediate suspension of the MLA in Unnao case followed by expulsion is an imperative. All other culprits must be put behind bars. So also, all the accused officials in Kahuta case must be suspended and put behind bars. Judiciary must not grant bail to anyone of them.
RG and the Congress Party cannot lay claims to “holier than thou” status. Why? First, RG must clear his name as accused in the Amethi rape case involving “Sukanya Devi” and the missing family? Now, Shashi Tharoor also must clear his name from his wife’s – Sunanda – case hitting media headlines.
It is high time that the Election Commission and the Supreme Court take suo motto cognizance of the cases and initiate appropriate action against all the accused.
In reality, politics over rapes is the worst fraud committed by all alike. Con artists and spin masters through paid, fake and fraud news provide fantastical twists to the episodes.
As usual, the CBI has been sent following SIT and Police reports. None should be surprised if the Supreme Court is also compelled to participate in the bizarre “Political Tamasha” – candle light rallies etc – to order a probe under its direct supervision.
Media hype and excessive politicization of rapes are skeptically viewed as “political gimmickry or farce” by quite a few observers. For example, the Nirbhaya rape case happened on December 16, 2012. Nirbhaya, the 23-year-old paramedic, was raped and brutalised with an iron rod on a moving bus in Delhi while returning home. She and her male friend were then thrown out of the bus. Nirbhaya lost her battle for life in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
Shocking and disturbing, only after nearly five years delay, the Supreme Court in November 2017 upheld the death penalty for the four convicts for gang-rape. Of the six accused, Ram Singh hanged himself in prison, while another, who was a juvenile at the time of the crime, was convicted and served the maximum sentence of three years in a reform home. Of course, the Supreme Court considered the rape case as “rarest of rare case and we are compelled to give extreme punishment to ensure justice.”
Ironic but true, even after 5 years, the convicts are still alive. What a fraud of judicial process system? Why are the files gathering cobwebs in the President’s Office?
Following the Delhi’s “Nirbhaya case”, the lawmakers enacted a ‘toothless law” promulgated after assent was given by Pranab Mukherjee in April 2013. No wonder, there is hardly any fear of law. Majority of law abiding citizens want a strong law; but the law makers are least interested to enact one.
Most important to note that the new section, 376A only provides for rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, if a person committing the offence of sexual assault, “inflicts an injury which causes the death of the person or causes the person to be in a persistent vegetative state, shall be punished with.” In case of “gang rape”, persons involved regardless of their gender shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to life and shall pay compensation to the victim which shall be reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim.
However, the media failed dismally to criticize the provisions of the ‘toothless’ law, particularly award of death sentence in the case of gang rape of minors followed by their cruel and brutal killing. The current law has failed to provide any deterrent and dissuasive effect as can be seen from the spurt of rape cases being reported in Delhi and neighboring UP.
To compound it, the highest udiciary turns a blind eye to the gory atrocities that happen quite frequently in and around Delhi. Let me recount the extracts of National Crime Bureau Record of 2016 published in November 2017. Overall, rape cases saw an increase of 12.4 per cent from 34,651 cases in the country in 2015 to 38,947 in 2016. Of the 38,947 rape cases recorded, Madhya Pradesh recorded 4,882 followed by Uttar Pradesh with 4,816 and Maharashtra with 4,189.
Among 4935 rape cases in the 19 cities recorded, Delhi, the National Capital had the highest number of 1,996 rape cases followed by Mumbai with 712 and Pune with 354. The national capital reported nearly 40 per cent of rape cases registered among 19 major cities.
Also, the conviction rate is barely 25.5%. With such a poor record of conviction rate and also barely any award of death sentence, particularly execution of sentence even in the Nirbhaya case, there is absolutely no fear for ‘Laws”.
Yet another significant feature is the crime rates. Delhi has the dubious distinction of having the highest crime rate 182.1 compared to the national average of 77.2. It reported the highest number of murders – 479 out of 2,194 cases (21.8 per cent) followed by Bengaluru 10.4 per cent (229 cases) and Patna 8.9 per cent (195 cases).
Hardly, there was media sensationalism over rapes in 2016 or 2017 and public outrage. Why? No elections or politicization. And, rapes continued to happen as hitherto fore.
Let me reproduce extracts of my earlier article to highlight the need for deterrent punishments: “Laws and their processes must have deterrence effect. Otherwise, they are useless; worse than a tissue paper; Options are available for making laws. Gang rape followed by murder is cut and dry case of murder. No second thoughts even for judiciary to nurture and interpret or the President to delay execution order; To have deterrence effect, the final verdict must be passed and acted upon within a specific time frame. At the most, six months for execution of hanging; and in a lesser crime of rape, “Castration” will have deterrence effect. It is high time to enact such a law.”
In retrospect, it is high time that rape cases must be categorized under various heads to include: Gang rape committed followed by killing the “Minor” or “Adult” is simply “Murder” most gruesome; Gang rape committed against a minor is equally gruesome; rape committed by an adult male against minor; and Gang rapes and rapes committed on foreign tourists.
“Justice delayed is Justice denied”. Judiciary must wake up. What is needed is implementation of judicial process on the lines of on the lines of a “General Court Martial” followed in the Armed Forces to ensure speedy trial and disposal of the case in a time bound manner. Even the final process of appeal to the President for special pardon should be dispensed within a time frame of seven days.
Let me also reiterate that media sensationalizes episodic rape cases selectively based on political leanings but fail to arouse the conscience of people particularly law makers, judiciary, police forces and even civil society. No wonder, every gruesome rape fades away into background sooner than later.
Human rights activists and the so called pseudo liberals vent their ire against ‘capital punishments’. Why do they remain subdued when gruesome and barbaric acts of rapes against minors followed by murders are committed by criminals?
Liberals living in AC rooms in Delhi or Mumbai like Ms Shabna Azmi may cry ‘foul’ at such speedy dispensation of justice. After all, they are living in a ‘fool’s paradise’ of make believe and delusional “civilized society” of modern India. How can they ever understand the pain of the parents who have lost their children under the most heinous conditions?
Wake up pseudo liberals, India may claim to be an ancient civilization; but modern India has many layers of ‘barbaric civilization”. And, the criminals get away with under the most invoked stupid cliché “law will take its own course” and human rights.
Finally, the execution of “death sentence by hanging” should be executed in full public gaze from the same tree where the two teen agers were hanged by the criminals.
Wake up India! Never too late to bring about sanity to claim to be a civilized nation instead of being drubbed as “Rapists Nation”.