Wednesday, 30 January 2013

This judgment makes no sense to me!

A man rapes a minor daughter. His wife lodges an FIR, he is found guilty and sent to jail for 12 years. Out on parole, he hacks his wife and daughter to  death with an axe. Another daughter watches the killings, runs and shuts herself in a room. After her father runs away from the scene of crime, she comes out.
The Supreme Court judges deciding the case converted the
death penalty into imprisonment for entire life. This is what  Justices Sathasivam and Kalifulla are reported to have noted: "One significant factor in this case, which we should not lose sight of is that he did not harm his other daughter even though he had a good chance for the same." Read the report in Times of India.

I have some issues with the judgment -

1. Is not a rape of a minor followed by two murders where the bodies are hacked not "brutal enough" to be "the rarest of the rare" category?

2.I wonder why the judges feel that because he did not kill his other daughter the law should be lenient for him? She reportedly shut herself in a room and saved herself. Why should the 'credit for not killing' (for that is what the judges appear to have considered) be given to the culprit?  Using the same reasoning it could be said that as he did not kill or rape other women he came in contact with while out on parole, his punishment reduced. Sounds absurd?

3. I am puzzled by another observation by the judges of our highest court.TOI  reports-
Justice Sathasivam, writing the judgment for the bench, said,
"It was highlighted that he being a poor man and unable to earn his livelihood since he was driven out of his house by his deceased wife. It is also his claim that if he was allowed to live in the house, he could easily meet both his ends and means, as the money which he was spending by paying rent would have been saved. It is his further grievance that his deceased wife was adamant and he should live outside and should not lead happy married life and that was the reason that their relations were strained."

Now, once a man has raped his minor daughter, the mother would be out of her senses to let the man continue to stay in the same house as her and the child. She would want to protect her daughter/s. Moreover, it is her choice if she wants to live with the man or have him move out. Which self respecting woman would continue to live with a man who rapes his own daughter? And then, just because he was not allowed to live in the house, is no excuse to kill.

Why should the judges even consider such utterances by the criminal and make it a ground for reducing the punishment?

When will our judges stop looking at cases from the narrow lens of patriarchy? Why don't they see the woman's point of view?

And what is also horrifying that the judges believe that such a man can be reformed! And have kept the case open for remission.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Rape culture in India and Nigeria

Amaka Okafor-Vanni writes about rape culture in Nigeria in the Guardian.
She makes many important points that resound in India.
I am quoting some in this post  -
Rape is primarily about power and its abuse. Within the Nigerian context, it is the punishment for wishing to be independent, for daring to threaten the status quo, the societal power dynamics. It is not about modesty neither is it about what the victim wore or her behaviour because as we all know, modestly dressed women are raped all the time...
...The modesty culture we preach is a rape culture because of our insistence on female purity and modesty. Why is it the sole responsibility of the female to remain chaste? Why isn't the male tasked with chastity? By focusing on the female, we reduce the woman to mere flesh and place control over the female body and sexuality in male hands. When she is sexually violated who do we infer to as "dishonoured"?
To read the article click here .

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Rapist who committed the crime in his car has his driving licence revoked

It was very heartening to read this bit of news in Indian Express today - 

The state transport department said from now on licences of people accused of rape using a motor vehicle would be suspended as soon as a chargesheet is filed, and cancelled permanently upon conviction. Licences could be cancelled even for old convictions, the department said.

A Gwalior Road Transport Officer M P Singh used powers under Section 19(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act on Friday to revoke the licence of Vishwambhar Gurjar who abducted a schoolgirl in his Bolero before raping and dumping her. Two others convicted with him, Rakesh Singh and Niranjan Singh, don’t have licences, and will never get one in Madhya Pradesh because their details and photos have been blacklisted... 

Kudos for the Madhya Pradesh state transport department  and Mr M P Singh in particular!  The state transport commissioner Sanjay Choudhary has said that the transport authority would also cancel licences of those convicted in the past if the police sent them details. They must! Hope the public sentiments will force them to do so.

And hopefully  the example set by Madhya Pradesh will be followed by other states.

To read the news item click here.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Crime against women, people act

The need is to act. To do something about the high levels of crime against women in India. (Click here for a rape map of India). But our politicians and leaders are busy moralising, telling us of dented and painted women, of what happens to women who cross the Lakshman rekha (the line which a woman should not cross), and as usual are giving lectures to women on how to behave. To see and learn about what  India’s political and spiritual worthies have to say on women cick here

The police, who so far have only shown a high degree of indifference to crime against women and have even been party to molestation and rapes, have yet to demonstrate that they mean business.

So it is left only to the public to act. Apart from the protests in various parts of the country, some public initiatives -

The brave man, Srikant Bhardwa, who lost his life trying to rescue a woman from a pack of molesters in Ranchi.

In Assam women and some men caught and beat up a politician, Bikram Singh Brahma  of the ruling Congress party, after he raped a woman.

The reaction to self proclaimed spiritual leader Asaram's inane statement about the girl was to blame was vocal and furious.

A Delhi-based entrepreneur, Srikant Sastri, has started a campaign  'Save The Republic - Resign Before January 26th' asking MPs and MLAs who have been accused of crime against women needs our support. To read more about it click here

Thursday, 3 January 2013

More questions for our leaders

A question for the Madhya Pradesh BJP minister

Mr Kailash Vijayavargiya says women who cross the line will be punished. What about the men who do so? What about the men, Mr Minister? Why are you silent on them? Ravan was killed for kidnapping Sita.

And for the RSS chief Bhagwat , who said "Rapes occur in India, not Bharat"

Sadly, rapes occur in Bharat too. Except that most go unreported. Who will come out and lodge a complaint? And the brave girls who do, see what happens to them.
Just read the following links Mr Bhagwat -

How many of us know how to give?

A beautiful quote on giving from the Bhagwad Gita -

A gift is pure when it is given from the heart to the right person at the right time and at the right place, and when we expect nothing in return.
Visit to discover Indian blogs
My Blog Directory