Delhi gangrape


TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains mention of rape, sexual assault and/or violence.


The irony is that we live in a society that preaches ethics and lauds the contrary. The Hyderabad gang-rape and murder baffled the country, and the police encounter which followed tells about what happens when ethics and justice don’t deliver what they were meant for. Read on to find the divided opinions about it.  

The whole was nation was outraged by the horrific gang-rape and murder of the 26-year-old veterinary doctor in Hyderabad. The public outcry was similar when the Nirbhaya gang-rape happened. And it is the same sentimental response when such incidents happen every single time. However, there is hardly any difference when it comes to women’s safety earlier and now. And by the time you finish reading this article, another similar incident might have occurred. The only difference being that some get reported and drive the heated response while some don’t, and then everything goes back to normal. The only thing which changes is that a woman gets more scared of being a woman.

The brutal gang-rape and murder in Hyderabad just exemplifies the situation of how things go wrong when the burden of women’s safety is laid on women, rather than targeting the root cause. And what ensued was mere hypocrisy of the society which preaches Natural Justice. The police encounter of the accused rapists violated not only violated legal realms, but also the ethical principles on which idea of India was based on. However, there were two sides of the coin which needed to be understood before we make a normative judgement.

Niharika Dabral, the former Associate Editor of DU Beat highlighted, “The incident has all signs of a fake encounter and it’s not justice. The police were pulling a Bollywood hero move just to distract people from its own callousness that might have prevented the tragic murder in the first place. We, as a society, still have primitive blood-thirst and one must evolve over it otherwise there is no difference between us and the criminals. The public will always ask for public execution and might even applaud these moves, but the state has to be more responsible with how it uses its power and as feminist we must not forget the real issues.”

Democracy differentiates itself from majoritarianism by virtue of certain individual and group rights it commits itself to. The will of a temporary majority cannot breach those rights. To secure those rights, certain institutions and institutional mechanisms are integral to democracy. However, when these institutions fail in their role, the fundamental reasoning behind the whole argument fails.

Avni Dhawan, from Kamala Nehru College, said, “There’s nothing wrong with having sentiments and feeling angry. It’s been years of sitting helplessly and blaming the judicial system. And I think there’s a quite thick line between justified actions and justice. There had to come to a point where one crosses the line given the situation in the country. You talk about how this isn’t any solution to the future rape cases, but years of court’s order and our laws couldn’t put a stop to it either.”  The rape survivor in Unnao was burnt alive while she was demanding justice, through apt channels. And this shows how the whole premise of ethics and justice dissolve when they don’t deliver what they were meant for.

On the other hand, Faizan Salik commented, “In this case, public sentiments narrativized media, which acted as a pressure group, but what followed it was absolutely unconstitutional, from here the case is just not about the crime but how the legal action prompted.”

Today’s society is a world where lynching and blood-thirst have become common parlance. In light of the encounter, the four accused rapists were not influential, rich or belonged to the upper section of the society and thus became an easy target of the “justice” carried out by the police. Would such justice be carried out with the affluent and privileged sections of the society? It would be a very short-sighted view to hail the police encounter if one really cares about women’s safety. The root cause of the issue has not been targeted. If institutions were in place working efficiently, the story could have been different altogether. If we forget the foundation of a progressive society which we all aspire for, we can’t give an excuse like this one for not adhering to it.


Featured Image Credits: The Hindu


Sriya Rane 

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One fine day(a few days ago), the nation woke up to a shocking revelation: Ram Singh, of the 16th December Delhi gang rape dishonor, was found hanging in his cell in Tihar Jail. Hundreds of questions were thrown at the administration of Tihar, the in mates, the guards and the police. ArnabGoswami shouted his lungs out at the failure of the state in keeping one criminal safe.

The mystery of his death still hasn’t been resolved. Going by logic, it seems virtually impossible that Ram Singh, with one functioning hand, could make a noose out of his clothes, create a make-shift hanging apparatus, in the middle of the night without disturbing the sleep of his fellow inmates in the same cell or the guard on duty. However, looking at the flipside, the murder of a high profile criminal inside a jail, seems even more atrocious, especially that no evidence has been found yet.

The aim of this article is not to solve the mystery. It is just to highlight two very pertinent questions:

1)Is the apparatus of state functioning so brittle that it can’t even keep criminals inside the jail safe?(However oxymoronic this might sound), and

2) Are we seeing a shift in the responsibility in terms of who grants justice to the citizens? Are citizens trying to take the law in their own hands?

Addressing question one first. Tihar Jail houses criminals more than 200% of its capacity. Though separate cells are meant for high profile criminals, they are seldom used because of the over-whelming number of criminals, unless it’s an absolute state interference in keeping a criminal isolated.

The other part is of the patrolling that happens in jails, by guards. Reports suggest that CCTV cameras were installed in his cell, but clearly there is a difference between installation of a camera and its actual functioning. Also, guards are supposed to keep a check on the activities of the inmates, whether fellow inmates tried to murder him, or he killed himself, neither activity should have gone undetected in the eyes of the guards.

Coming to question two, in a state it is solely the judiciary that has the right to pass a sentence on a criminal. We don’t encourage citizens to become anti-vigilantes. If it was a murder, what prompted other people to murder him? The fact that we know how poor our judicial system is and that justice is seldom granted? Maybe.The fact that he was a national enemy?Again, maybe.

And if it was suicide, what prompted him to take such a step? Frustration?Maybe.Fear?Maybe. But the state doesn’t work on the whims and fancies of petty criminals, and their wish can’t be our command.

Whatever really happened, amidst all this, apart from life, justice too has been lost.
Image source: http://www.indiatvnews.com