This piece will help you understand the complex and catastrophic nature of civil wars and challenges some of the myths around it.

Civil Wars, whenever I say this word, most of you would have the names of countries like Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan, and organisations like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Al-Qaeda or Boko Haram. These countries have suffered the loss of heritage, culture with millions of displaced, thousands killed. But if you thought and still think that civil wars are just like any other war then you are in for a surprise.

Whenever two countries or nations fight, they fight for the pride of the respective nationalistic ideas or identities, the example of India and Pakistan is a very relevant one here. India and Pakistan till now, have fought four major wars with each other. But in each one of them, the Pakistani Army and the Indian Army were fighting for the pride of their nation. Similarly, when India and China fought in the 1962 Sino-Indian war, two different ideologies were morale boosters for the two armies. One, which established the Republic of India and the other which established the People’s Republic of China. But when we talk about civil wars, we are looking at a completely different ball game.

In civil wars, people who once were brothers turn against each other. The population just forgets about the heritage of their own country and goes on destroying whatever comes in their way of unending pursuit for power. It is very rightly said that a weapon in the hand of a human, gives them a lot of power. When a person picks up a weapon, they feel superior and feel that they can control everything. But it is after some time, they don’t control the weapon, but the weapon starts controlling them. That is what is happening all around the world right now.

It is not that civil wars did not take place in the 20th century, before 1956 to be exact. But at that point of time weapons were not the primary source of revolution. Fast forward to 1980s and the early 2000s, the power of weapons has driven people from trying to get justice from the government to a point that these so-called revolutionaries have become reckless. They just forget about the very reason they started all of this, justice and equality.

The Afghanistan Civil War has been going on and on since 1978, the Yemeni Civil War started after the Arab spring in around 2014, Syrian Civil War started in 2011 and the Libyan Civil War started in 2011 and they all are still going on with no seeming end. These wars and many others have still not ended, even though solutions were worked out on more than one occasion. These solutions have mostly failed because the people who have now rifles in their hands think that dialogue and talking over the table is far less effective than taking out the solution with a rifle. Discussions, deliberations and debates hold no substance whatsoever in front of bullets and bombs as these revolutionaries think that a bullet is an answer for everything. The question is, how do these terrorists get weapons and who actually fuels these wars?

If you look at major civil wars around the world, you’ll see one constant thing, there is always an involvement of foreign powers, the Saudi Arabians are interfering in Syria and Yemen or be it the Iranians interfering in Libya, Syria and Yemen or the US involved in the civil wars of Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen; they all have a personal motive.

The Middle East is still torn in the civil war because the international powers are still hungry for oil and power. Like the United States led forces helped the people of Libya to get rid of their 50-year-old dictatorship but did not help the nation to rebuild itself and now Libya is facing another bloody battle. Afghanistan is still suffering as the United States was very quick and swift when it had to neutralize Al Qaeda and its leader Osama Bin Laden but not very swift when redevelopment was to be done. Recently, the President of the United States of America, Mr Donald Trump very famously said that the United States is not in these civil war-torn countries to rebuild those nations. They are there only to wipe out terrorism. But maybe Mr Trump forgot that it was the US which supplied these terrorists with weapons and money in the first place during the 1980s.

We need to look upon the fact that it was the courtesy of these foreign powers including United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and even China that huge amounts of weapons, training and money were given to these terrorist organisations. And no account was kept to monitor the use of these resources, whether they were being used to fight wars or to kill innocents.

There was a project called the ‘Ring Road’ project in Afghanistan that the United States started. The project aimed to rebuild the economy of Afghanistan, which was destroyed by the battle between the Mujahideen and the Soviet Union. As well as the war between the forces of Al Qaeda, Taliban and the United States and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) powers. But after some time, the project was nearly halted around 2003, as all of the funds were re-allocated from Afghanistan to Iraq for the Gulf War, which was another war for the never-ending hunger of global powers for money and oil.

To this date, it is still disputed as to why did the United States invade Iraq. Because nuclear weapons in Iraq were not found but what was to be found was lots of oil. The Afghanistan Ring Road, now is controlled by the Taliban as international powers who actually dug up this hole have left the nation.

The international community, whenever it enters a nation, claims that they are doing so for the betterment and for the freedom of people. But as of now, there is neither any development nor any freedom. The people are willing to even leave their own countries and their very own houses. Even though this mess was created by these so-called ‘global powers’ but these nations themselves now look away.

All of us get to know about these wars and their magnitude from the media but is the coverage enough? Let’s take the example of sexual offences against women, it is estimated that every day 10 women are raped or harassed in India. Often people seem to ignore these rapes and once in a while, we come across a case which really results in a series of posts on social media. But again, after some months, we forget about these issues. We move on with our lives and that is exactly what happens and what is happening with civil wars. We hear about Syria, the millions of people trying to get into other countries, the millions of people forced to be refugees. Think about the people being killed and about the children who lost their families. But yet again, after a fair amount of time, we forget about all of this and move on with our life just as these wars continue to devastate millions.

An interesting fact is that after World War II, the world has not seen any major wars between two big economies or between the top 27 economies to be exact. But what we have seen repeatedly is the use of ‘proxy’ wars by these major economies as a show of strength. A proxy war is where no nation is directly involved but is supporting opposite sides via supplying men and machinery. Nations like the USA, Russia, UK, Germany, China, etc. have used internal conflicts like Syria and Yemen as playgrounds, which not only sounds unethical but in reality, is. An interesting fact is that the terror group ISIS or the Islamic State makes most of its revenue by selling crude oil. This oil was produced in the numerous oil refineries that they had captured in Iraq and Syria.

The question, is that who actually bought this oil? If you go back in history, you will very easily find that many western powers and eastern powers need oil for their economies and even have waged wars for it. Thus, it is being alleged that countries like Russia, China, North Korea and even Western Nations buy this oil. So, the question remains, how corrupted is this system and how deep is this hypocrisy that runs through it?

You would have often seen videos of Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, etc. so-called fighters riding on these huge tow trucks and moving on in massive caravans. A research was done and it was found that around 90% of the transportation used by the terrorist organisations like ISIS are made by Toyota. While Toyota mostly says that they are not selling any vehicles to the terrorist organisations but that they purchase it from the second-hand markets.

Take the example of cluster bombs that are being dropped by the Syrian Army on the nation’s civilian population repeatedly. It was found that the materials which were used to make these cluster bombs were made in Turkey. Take up the case of the Saudi Arabians, who are relentlessly bombing civilian targets like hospitals, schools and even funerals in Yemen. The bombs and the fighter jets used to target these civilians are being supplied to the Saudis by the US. Besides this, the Saudi Arabians get battle damage replacement on these weapons by the United States, where the battle is the Yemeni Civil war.

We can see that a nation like China can exert its influence on other countries around the globe as it has money and a good economy. The bitter truth is that every single bomb which has been supplied to Syria or Yemen or every single raw material supplied to these civil war-torn countries, give huge amounts of money to the economies of the world powers and it is because of this money that we are able to grow at a rapid pace.

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Image Credits: Aniket Singh Chauhan

(The countries marked in Green are the ones where civil wars are taking place. While the ones in red are indirect or international participants. The ones with a black square on them signify that they are involved in more than one civil war)

If we try to talk about the solutions, the first question that pops up is whether the exporting of weapons should be stopped? Or should we stop exerting power? But is stopping these activities, the answer to global civil wars? If we stop everything then firstly our economies will suffer, millions of people will get unemployed and those are the right ingredients for starting a decades-long civil war.

The example of the alcohol and tobacco industry can help us understand this issue better. According to several studies, if these products are banned and production is stopped, even though there may arise short term problems but such actions, in the long run, can increase productivity. But the short-term consequences themselves would be disastrous. Houses are destroyed, lives get ruined and people are even sold in some parts of India to get the money for buying such products. Firstly, our economy will be hit because a lot of people will be laid off their jobs and secondly, people will think of it as an attack on their personal liberties. Similarly, in the weapons industry shrinking of orders will result in job cuts and unemployment which will cause unemployment levels to go haywire.

But then what is the solution to stop Civil Wars? No global power in the world, at any point, would stop their intelligence network and thereby shrink their influence. Because, the more the governments around the world are affected by the actions of a single nation, the more powerful that nation is. Examples of our very close neighbour of Sri Lanka or Rwanda can be taken up here. The civil wars in these countries ended with an unprecedented genocide by one faction on the other, with no regard for human rights at all. But both of these Nations today are peaceful, and people have food in their bellies, money in the hands and a house to sleep. So, the question which now arises is, is it essential to completely disregard the Human Rights during a civil war to let its people live peacefully after the war? According to me, this is absolutely not the answer. And that is what makes civil war so much more complex than a war between two major powers.

As two major powers can sit on a table, discuss and deliberate the peace treaties but the factions in a civil war, who only know the language of a rifle cannot understand the language of negotiating. That is why civil wars are a huge mess which gets even more cluttered the moment international forces interferes.

Hypocrisy in civil wars extends to unforeseeable levels. Afghanistan right now is being ruled by the Taliban Government which the United States was fighting at one point of time. And currently is actually ready to negotiate the very leaders of Taliban who have killed children, women, minorities and even US soldiers for not abiding by their rules.

Every great nation on the face of this Earth, at one point, faced or was part of a humanitarian crisis. Be it the United States which killed millions of Native Americans and destroyed their culture; or be it Russia/USSR which starved and executed millions in their Gulag Camps; or be it China which caused the death of more than 25 million Chinese because of manmade disasters like the Great Chinese disasters, a disaster caused by the Great Leap Forward programme started by its so-called founding father Mao Zedong; or be colonial powers like England, France, Denmark, Belgium and Germany who accumulated their power and influence from around the world by stripping each and every person in their colonies of wealth, culture, heritage, language and even their life.

It is estimated that imperial powers killed more than half a million people in their colonies. For perspective, this is equivalent to the added populations of Indonesia and Brazil.  Even India saw a genocide on its Western as well as the Eastern borders, wherein nearly 2 million people died. But today, India is one of the top 10 largest economies in the world. Therefore, after seeing these examples, the question which arises is- Is the utter disregard to Human Rights a precursor to the establishment of a Great Nation? The answer to this question can be summarised in just one line.

“In times of war, the law falls silent”

-Marcus Tullius Cicero

But maybe it is our responsibility as human beings to not let the law become blind during the times of conflict. It’s often believed that it is actually the instruments of warlike weapons and armies that can bring peace or what is also known as military deterrence. But if we can develop such complex military weapons, then humankind can also develop means of peace and justice that will never fall silent, no matter how horrifying the future civil wars and genocides are.

Featured Image Credits: The Free Press Journal


Aniket Singh Chauhan

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The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 currently being tabled in the Rajya Sabha, has been strongly critiqued, and rejected by the trans community due to its contentious and violating nature

The Winter Session of the Parliament commenced on 18th November, and the impending tabling of the regressive Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha began on 20th November. The Bill had been earlier passed by the Lower House in August.

Despite its deceiving nomenclature, the Bill in fact offers no protection or real mainstreaming measures for the Indian trans community and instead, reeks of transphobia and ignorance. The bill stands to dehumanize and further ostracize the marginalised community.

For trans people to legally identify as a different gender,the Bill purports a two-step procedure. The step of ‘screening and certification’ in front of a district magistrate and a medical screening committee, under this procedure, is an arbitrary and demeaning measure that violates the personhood, agency and privacy of a trans person. This measure reflects the Bill’s narrow and ignorant understanding of ‘gender’. It also stands in contradiction of the 2014 NALSA Judgement passed by the apex court that granted the right of self-identification.

The Bill rejects the need for reservation for transgender people in education, healthcare, and employment, denying the reality of how transgender people do not have an undemanding or safe access to these, due to lack of financial resources and rampant discrimination.

Further, the bill mandates transgender people to live with their birth families, where they are most often met with rejection and hostility. It denies them the right to live with their chosen families/communities/partners etc. Thus, the Bill criminalises traditional Hijra livelihoods and families. The Bill gives a maximum sentence of 2 years to anyone who sexually violates a transgender person which upon comparison with the extension of a sentence up to lifetime upon the violation of a cisgender woman, reveals how the bill blatantly encodes discrimination against transgender people with lower penalties for violence against them.

The following Instagram post, by @theypfoundation via @inbreakthrough follows the intricacies of the Tran Bill, in conversation with Bittu, a scientist and a gender queer transman.

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The Transgender Bill is currently in the Rajya Sabha. Here is a refresher on what it is and why it is problematic. #flawsinlaws Posted @withrepost • @inbreakthrough The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019 was recently passed in the Lok Sabha. The trans community has been raising many concerns about the bill, here’s why: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ____________________________________________ #TransBill #transbill2019 #killthetransbill #loksabha #news #transrights #transcommunity #translivesmatter #passthemic #listentotransvoices #demands #reservations #statement #killthebill #killbill #transrightsarehumanrights #transrightsmatter #transvoices #transvoicesmatter #discrimination #violence #transphobia #queerphobia #supporttransrights #transgenderrights

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Ray R, a transwoman studying law at University of Delhi says (via Twitter), “The trans community believes that the current Bill being discussed in the Rajya Sabha makes a mockery of their personhood, community, rights and only adds to everyday humiliation and violation…”

On 24th and 25th November, Delhi and Bengaluru respectively, witnessed the Delhi Queer Pride and the Namma Pride. As thousands flocked to celebrate at the processions, many wore black to stand in support with the trans community and protest the regressive Trans Bill.

Feature Image Credits: Vaibhav Tekchandni

Story Image Credits: Jaishree Kumar for DU Beat

Prisha Saxena

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The year 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. His words are acknowledged far and wide for their deep-rooted wisdom which he presented in the most accessible language for all. Here is an intersectional piece on his ideas of social service and the education of children.

Since the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to interact with the children of the migrant labourers who were working in my college. Spending time with four of them made me realise and think deeply about a lot many things that are still happening, and are significantly pressing issues in India, which are sadly overlooked. Holding bricks in their little hands came more naturally to them than holding a book or a badminton racquet. This image, as simple as it might sound in its description, made me question the very living reality I am a part of.

In all of his seriousness, Mahatma Gandhi once said, “I would develop in the child his hands, his brains, his soul. Now the hands have almost atrophied and the soul has been ignored.” The words he spoke years ago ring a deathly cacophony in the face of modern India – an India built on hopes, dreams, and immense ambitions. Upon interacting with those children, I found how the very act of accessing good education is a dream too fancy to dream. They are a generation of unlettered Indians, much like their parents and grandparents. They will continue to be a part of the vicious labour cycle, because we have continued to sit quietly in our ignorance. In the actions on my part, I taught them to play badminton, how to read and write alphabets, and they taught me the value of privilege.

I hope that they all get an equal opportunity for a beautiful childhood because that is what every child deserves. That is a future our founding fathers longed for, and a future which they died for. It rattles me to the core, when we boast of the fact that India is developing and whatnot – is all of that true, or just a globalised facade while the local reality remains unnerving? There is a long way ahead of us with a long trail to tread. Are we mere paper tigers when it comes to implementation? It is here that Mahatma Gandhi’s words ring all the more true, in a dire need to be put into action, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” It surely is a battle, but one to be won with pen, patience, and systematic resistance, in going out and reaching to this parallel reality of India. It is at this powerful juncture the motto, “Each one, teach one” almost screams to me in all its naked truth. It screams how one person has the power to bring changes in their immediate ecosystems. It screams how we are just one action away from building our future and giving no individual effort in this pious task.

Every person has the right to lead a life of dignity, respect, and one where they are not exploited. Even spending as less as 15 minutes a day to teach something to an illiterate child can bring watershed changes in our society; one which have been lying dormant for the longest time. Brace up and buckle up, India. Every effort of every individual counts, and it is the time to contribute substantially to the cause of the leaders whose birth and death anniversaries we celebrate with pomp and show, while ironically rolling down our car windows to buy chai from young children who deserve an education.

Feature Image Credits: Amrashree Mishra for DU Beat

Amrashree Mishra

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What happens to the movements that stand against the violence perpetrated at the lesser privileged? Read on to find out the glory and the grit.

Today, we celebrate non-violence, we recognise it as the only effective means to counter violence. We exist very proudly as citizens of a nation whose independence was made possible through non-violence. Whether Gandhi would be happy with the palpable threat of violence in every city of every state is debatable, but we will somehow ironically still continue to bask in our non-violent glory. Let us face it – we are obsessed with reminding the world, “Hey, we may be using violence to illegally occupy parts of our country, but remember how we got the British to leave?” It is true that India was the birthplace of large scale non-violent resistance movements that should fill us with pride. But it has been 72 years since Independence and yet, every year on this day, our imagination and knowledge of non-violence does not stretch further than Gandhi, and the Independence Movement.

Post-Independence, we have seen incredibly inspiring and resilient non-violent movements aimed at guaranteeing human rights and protection to everyone. These, too, are a part of our history, and if we are embracing non-violence we have to mobilise against violence as well. It is surprising then, to note that none of these movements has received the support or recognition from a nation that prides itself for non-violence. All hope is not dead and there is one non-violent movement, partially ongoing, that we should be very proud about. Yes, you guessed right. It is the 35-year-old Narmada Bachao Andolan. Even though it did not achieve what it set out to do, the Movement challenged the very core of our developmental model. It recently made the front pages again, on the 69th birthday of our Prime Minister. To celebrate, the Gujarat Government raised the level of water to 139 metres. In 2010, when the Supreme Court allowed work on the dam to continue, it warned the Government that the dam’s height should remain below 90 metres. At this height, according to India Today, the backwater has partially or fully flooded 192 villages in Barwani, Dhar, Alirajpur, and Khargone districts, along with one township in Madhya Pradesh. The Narmada Bachao Andolan was a movement unlike any other – it was all-encompassing.

It was brave enough to ask the most difficult question – is violence against the poor, not violent enough? And it turns out, violence against the poor and marginalised is not violent enough. It would be violence if the dam construction was not allowed and, as a result, Coca Cola lost 30 million litres of water daily. Could you imagine the outcry? Coca Cola not getting water would be the gravest of injustices! Words would be flung around about our economy coming to a halt. What about our humanity coming to a halt? 32,000 of the 40,000 displaced families are yet to be rehabilitated. The three state governments involved (Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra) filed false reports with the Supreme Court, claiming that all the required rehabilitation had been achieved. The fund for this rehabilitation had been spent and we now know that an amount of INR 1,500 crores was scammed in the process.

The people that lost their land for Sardar Sarovar were not “normal” people. They were people already living in the fringes and, surprisingly enough, that was enough for them. They were not making demands; they were just living their lives until they were asked to give up those lives for the greater good of the nation. The worst outcome of violence is death, but this is beyond death because it makes life frightening. So, this year when we think about celebrating and recognising nonviolence, we should give equal thought to how much violence we are condoning in the country by not questioning it. We should celebrate the Narmada Bachao Andolan for educating us that this, too, is violence.

Feature Image Credits: The Week

Pragati Thapa

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As the Supreme Court ruling further attenuates the Reservation Rights of Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC), DUTA pushes out a letter to question the state of incompetence and wrongdoings.

The Supreme Court in the latest ruling on the reservation rights of SC, ST, and OBC for the appointment of faculty to college and university, has decided to water down from the 200-point system to the 13-point system. The latter system considers the department or subject (taught) as a unit, whereas the earlier system considered the university or college as a unit.

This decision has in turn simply stated made it so that OBC’s would be given every 4th position available in the unit, SC’s every 7th position and ST’s every 14th position, also in the case of small units or departments that don’t have for example 7 or 14 positions, no reservations will be created. The decision as expected has come to anger and agitate those working and prospective workers and has moved the hands of DUTA (Delhi University Teachers’ Association) who have written an open letter explaining how this ruling is absurd and harmful to the ‘Dalit Bahujans’ and is a step back into granting equal rights something that is taken to be the duty of the pillars of our nation. The letter in question was addressed to the Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar asking him to bring in a Bill/ Ordinance to restore the 200-point reservation roster on the basis of college/university as a unit.

The final steps that members of DUTA have decided to undertake is to organise a march on the 31st of January from the Mandi house metro station to the Parliament street, for what they call a step necessary to ensure deliverance of basic human rights.

Feature Image Credits- Hindustan Times

Haris Khan
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The recent uproar on the case where a 23-year-old girl was raped and thrown out of a bus, took a tragic twist with the demise of the rape victim, popularly known as Nirbhaya. The protests held at Raisina hill and India Gate were charged with anger and adrenaline, but her death brought with it an even stronger will to seek justice for and pay tribute to ‘India’s daughter’. After being transferred to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth hospital on 27th morning, the nation collectively prayed for a speedy recovery. However, the girl succumbed to her injuries just two days later. Her death ignited a flame within the hearts of Indians across the world, and many movements were held across the country to send a message to the Indian law-makers that the war had only just begun. In New Delhi, Jantar Mantar was the prime spot where peaceful gatherings were organised to show solidarity. As Jantar Mantar has been a symbol of non-violent protests even in the past, it seemed to be the perfect spot for the citizens of the capital to gather and pay tribute to the brave girl who fought against the rapists for her life. “The crowd was very peaceful and calm. More than a sense of revenge, there seemed to be a solemn atmosphere. Despite the fact that there was a group of people yelling ‘Hang the rapists!’ at the top of their lungs, most present realised that the point of meeting at Jantar Mantar was to pay tribute to the girl who was raped as well as all the other women who have suffered due to shameless, savage minds,” said Ankita, a student of Lady Shri Ram College. As students continue to organise street plays and people come together to light candles in memory of the 23 year old medical student, the direction of these protests and marches seem to be aimed at a complete overhaul of the existing safety regulations and policies. This might just be the start of a new revolution, spearheaded by the dynamic and powerful youth of a nation infested with outdated laws and run by ageing leaders well beyond their time.]]>

Delhi, now christened as the ‘rape capital’ of the country, witnessed the most horrific rape, even by its own standards, last week. For the public records, this was ‘just another rape’, like the numerous in the past and the numerous to follow. But for the citizens of this city, led by its youth, this was the tipping point. Delhi University students made international headlines when they turned Vijay Chowk into their Tahir Square. Hundreds of students gathered, and egged on by their courage, lakhs of supporters poured into Central Delhi to show their solidarity. DU Beat wants to engage all students of the University to share their opinions, experiences, suggestions etc with the world. For those of us not physically sitting there, let us endeavour to start an online revolution which will jolt the political class into action. Make yourself count towards this movement. Comment here with anything and everything relating to this case in particular as well as the issue at large. Let the world know what the youth of this city thinks. Write in your experiences at Vijay Chowk, your views for the future, past experiences of such incidents, your message for victims and their families, etc. You can also send us photographs clicked by you, illustrations, articles or even poems. Whichever way you wish to express yourself and give a message to everyone.
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The rape incident of a 23 year old student (Amanat, as the media has christened her) and the physical mutilation of both Amanat and her friend have once again exposed the underbelly of the nation’s capital. One among the many rapes to be reported in the city’s newspapers (three more reported from the city post this incident less than a week back!), this case was different only in the fact that it caught the imagination of the public. Social media was leveraged to spread the anger far and wide, public gatherings were organized all over the country and a lot of words were spoken.

The public rage since then has turned wild. On day 1 the large protest marches ran over the security barricades at the Home Minister’s residence. On day three, it escalated to Raisina Hill. Any person mildly active on Facebook could tell you what the country wanted – for the accused to be hanged to death! Or if given a choice, people would have them castrated, bobbitized, flogged and publicly stoned to death.

Lots and lots of young, educated Indians wish exactly that for the accused. And I write, hoping to provide a balanced perspective to the entire episode that has gripped this nation. I write to point out the most obvious legal hurdles in granting a death sentence to the accused.

At the outset, I agree that the incident this time around was gruesome. And it deserves a stringent punishment. But I disagree with the few who say that an example should be made out of these culprits. I disagree because I fail to see how this act is any more gruesome than that landlord who raped a minor, or the father and stepfather who alternately raped their daughter. All of this in the past week. Also, it is a statistically proven fact that making murders an offence worthy of capital punishment has not in the slightest affected their rates. Legal opinion is divided on how effective a change in law would be for tackling incidents of rape.

As the law in India stands today, rapes are bailable. And they never warrant a capital punishment. There is a loud clamour for changing these ‘archaic’ laws and there are reasons why the legislators haven’s sprung into action yet.

A grossly under-reported fact is that rape laws (much like dowry laws) are amongst the most misused laws in India. Section 114A of the Indian Evidence Act states “when sexual intercourse by the accused is proved and the question is whether it was without the consent of the woman alleged to have been raped and she states in her evidence before the Court that she did not consent, the Court shall presume that she did not consent” which in simpler words means that if a male has sex with female, she can file a rape case against him even if the act was consensual. The wordings of the laws have been often misused (or so is popular opinion, the law itself stands). The most common scenario would be one where the woman wishes to marry her lover post coitus and upon refusal, files a case of rape against him. The Supreme Court made the matter slightly more complicated by passing an order that ‘sex with the promise of marriage amounts to rape’.

Now picture this- a hot blooded India demands a change in laws, making rape non-bailable and worthy of capital punishment. The law is misused, even if by a minority (though the numbers are debatable) leading to the chargesheet being filed against an innocent. The person is slapped with a non-bailable arrest warrant and suffers in jail, at the mercy of our over-burdened, and hence slow, judicial process. The capital punishment clause can mean that the innocent could face a severe penalty for no fault of his bacause the wordings of 114A make it almost impossible to prove innocence.

We must not forget that the fundamentals of justice stress more that an innocent man should not hang rather than making all the guilty suffer. Hence, innocent until proven guilty! This is where it becomes so important that we treat laws with utmost care. Each word in an amendment must be carefully scrutinized for what it implies and what loopholes it leaves behind. It is all very well for the masses to shout “Hang the rapist” but it would be wiser for the educated to analyse why our laws say what they do.

Also, there is a fine line between empowering women and decapitating men. Though we feel the need to bring women up to par, it does not mean it shall be at the cost of men. The idea is not to tilt the scales, it is to balance it!

I would like to end by stating that I am not a law student and am not aware of the details behind all of India’s laws. However, my article is based on statements from the Indian Penal Code available on the internet and I assumed it to be wholesome. My intent behind this article was to bring a sense of sanity to this whole outrage that the nation feels. We must continue our fight against rapists, make our streets safer, give women their rights, and all that while not not getting emotionally blinded.

Arnav Das
[email protected] 

In what is being seen as the next biggest uprising India saw since Anna Hazare’s India Against Corruption, the protest march that commenced today on India Gate has surely got the parliament at its toes.

The official time of beginning the protest was 9 am, however such was the charge amongst people that a significant crowd could be seen assembling from 7:30 am. Slogans of “Delhi Police hai hai!”, “Hang the rapist” and “We want justice” echoed across the entire stretch of Rajpath. Several street play groups came up and vehemently put forward the appeal of death penalty, or something more harsh and cruel for the perpetrators. A very significant part of this protest was that a lot of school students could be seen, accompanied by their teachers. They could be seen holding banners and echoing the appeals that the entire nation seems to voice- punish hard and punish fast.

Celebrities preferred to hide behind the veils of Twitter and their support ended at that. “It seems ironical. The same celebrities who say so many things about social change on T.V. never actually do something to use their star power to the fullest potential”, said Nikita, a protestor. Gopal Krishna Gandhi, former Governor of Bengal showed up to voice his support.

According to me, this protest was slightly different from its past counterparts and by different I mean in a good sense. Lesser were the number of men who went to protests to engage in some “bird watching”. Lesser were the attention seeking people trying to hog into media limelight by coming to such territories. Lesser were the number of people who came with their friends to watch the tamasha. Of course, you could spot some bored looking men wandering aimlessly, giving the protestors a queer expression, clearly realizing they don’t fit in. You could also spot some ladies all dressed up in the “perfect protest March ensemble” trying to attract a media person to let her protest in front of the camera.

However, as far as the majority was concerned, the anger within them seemed genuine and an honest concern for the rape victim could be felt. There was unity in the crowd which prevented the crowd from turning into a violent mob. The only violence that existed was towards the inefficiency of the police and law makers.

Later on, things turned a little problematic when the crowd tried to force themselves in into the President House premises. The police began a lathi charge and tear gas was splashed. This only perpetuated the anger towards the government. Many people were injured and admitted into RML hospital.


Image credits: Kirti Narain