The capital has become the scene of another gang-rape. This time it is a eight year old girl child. The girl was abducted while sleeping outside with her family. Why were they sleeping outside? Because there is no power in their colony!
Not one politician of any political party either visited the girl’s traumatized family or issued any statement. Such things have become kind of routine news and acceptable facts to Indian society. Unless a person from immediate family gets affected even public does not bother and consumes the news carried in newspapers or TV with tea.
The affected family is left to fend for themselves with an unfriendly police system and a very complicated judicial system, where justice is more denied by delay.
Who will give the healing touch?
Who will stop these gang-rapes which destroy childhood?
Who will stop the ever increasing gang-rapes on our highways, city roads, public transport and in residential colonies?
In our childhood we were taught the idiom “Who will bell the cat?” It is so true today in this respect as the nation asks this question from the people who are responsible for governance in any form anywhere.
On the last day of July the nation was shocked when news came that a mother and daughter were dragged out of car in UP the previous night and gang-raped by some criminals of a Ghumantu gang for three hours in Bulandshahr District (65 km away from Delhi) on National Highway 91, and barely 100m away from a Police Post. Mother of 35 years and daughter of 14 years raped together!
The country is being scarred again and again, call it Nirbhaya or by any other name, gang-rapes continue with criminals at large. It is a systems failure: the maintenance of law & order, the long drawn trials, the lack of evidence, and little or no punishment, more alarmingly the will to stop these crimes against women.
Our country is a land where womanhood has been worshipped in the form of a Goddess. We believe in Devi Shakti. We do pilgrimages of all Shakti Sthals. We celebrate festivals with aplomb and our greetings are Jai Maa, Jai Bhagwati, Jai Mata Di, Radhey-Radhey and so on.
We worship our Goddesses every day. We name our daughters in the name of our Goddesses. We see their forms from Ma Durga to Ma Kali depicting victory over evil forces and demons. Our Goddesses ride lions and bless their followers. Our Mantras are chants in praise of our Goddesses, where we pray and bow in supplication and seek blessings from them.
Still no Political Party has made women safety as their national programme.
Who will lead the growing concern for crime against women?
It has to be backed by the Government’s legal and administrative action to show the Government’s resolve to hold back such horrific crimes against women. The very fact that again such a crime took place again in the capital of the country, only reveals that the courage of criminals is at a questionable large.
The last five years data of rape cases and the rate of conviction is a cause for immediate concern!
Countrywide protests could begin when women realize they are not safe while sleeping, travelling, or working. Women do feel unsafe and my conversations with the ones I know have revealed deep set anger, frustration and disenchantment with the present scenario of safety of women in the cities and villages. The incidents continue to shock the conscience of the people to the core.
SOME ALTERNATIVES BEFORE THE GOVERNMENT:
- Bill to be brought in Parliament for Capital Punishment / Chemical Castration of convicted rapists
- Emergency Decree like Italy announced in February 2009 for mandatory Life Sentence to be given to rapists
- Fast Track Rape Trial Courts
- Recruitment of Delhi Police Constabulary to be broad based from all States of India, and not have predominance from neighbouring State of Haryana as this move shall instill confidence and break the criminal-police nexus (majority of constabulary in Delhi Police and sexual crime offenders have roots in Haryana)
- Video recording to be a must in all Police Stations
- All cabs to be installed with Cab Cameras and GPS indicators
- Delhi Police to be brought under the control of Delhi Government and not be under the Home Ministry through Lieutenant Governor, Delhi
- Licensing of all Cab/Public Road Transport Drivers in the capital and the other cities to include Psychiatric Tests and be not as easy as it is today
- Creation of a Department of Crime Against Women under the Ministry of Women & Child Welfare
Now, is the time we have to be seen to be taking tough and long lasting measures to protect our daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers. It is the cry of the ‘Daughters of India’. In this Year 2016, let it be noticed and talked about in the homes of India that the Government means business and such type of violence is to take place no more.
Punishment for Rape in Different Countries
I am placing before the people a comparative appreciation of the punishment awarded for rape in some countries:
USA: Under federal law the punishment for rape can range from a fine to Life imprisonment. The severity of the punishment is based on the use of violence, the age of the victim and whether drugs or intoxicants were used to override consent. If the perpetrator is a repeat offender the law prescribes automatically doubling the maximum sentence.
|“||1-(1) A person (A) commits an offence—
(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.
China: China retained the death penalty in the 1980s for certain serious crimes. The 1980 law required that death sentences be approved by the Supreme People’s Court. This requirement was temporarily modified in 1981 to allow the higher people’s courts of provinces, autonomous regions, and special municipalities to approve death sentences for murder, robbery, rape, bomb-throwing, arson, and sabotage. In 1983 this modification was made permanent. In 2006, the Chinese government reversed the previous modified death penalty requirement that was made permanent in 1983. The law was enacted on January 1, 2007, and required all death sentences be approved by the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), effectively depriving the provincial people’s courts of exercising the final say on the death sentence, allowing death penalties handed out by provincial courts to be reviewed and ratified by the SPC.
Italy: In February 2009 Italy passed an Emergency Decree-Mandatory life sentences–The Italian decree, which goes into effect immediately but still has to be approved by both houses of parliament within 60 days, introduces mandatory life sentences for people convicted of gang-rape, sexual assault resulting in murder and violent sexual abuse of children.
India: Section 376 in The Indian Penal Code, 1860
- Punishment for rape.–
(1) Whoever, except in the cases provided for by sub- section (2), commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may be for life or for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine unless the woman raped is his own wife and is not under twelve years of age, in which case, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.
The women of India need a healing touch. An administrative-legal direction to the whole issue is warranted. How soon we act is what shall matter and assuage the hurt conscience of the nation. Perhaps, something like the Italian response is the need of the hour!
“SAVE INNOCENCE” CAMPAIGN could be started in the country by those who are sensitive enough to realize the immensity of the problem and want to protect and respect womanhood!
© Sandeep Silas, Delhi, India