Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Death penalty for killing a male child, life imprisonment for raping minor daughter and killing her and wife

The Supreme Court of India through a judgment has shown that it places more 'value' on a male child than a female child and a woman.

The following report appeared in the Times of India today:

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered death penalty to a man who murdered a seven-year-old boy after kidnapping him for ransom, justifying the capital punishment on several grounds, including that killing the sole male child meant that the family lineage could not be carried forward.

Citing disruption of family lineage as one of the seven aggravating grounds why they thought the convict deserved no leniency, a bench of Justices P Sathasivam and J S Khehar said, "The choice of kidnapping the particular child for ransom was well planned and consciously motivated. The parents of the deceased had four children — three daughters and one son. Kidnapping the only male child was to induce maximum fear in the mind of his parents. Purposefully killing the sole male child has grave repercussions for the parents of the deceased."

The bench continued, "Agony for parents for the loss of their male child, who would have carried further the family lineage, and is expected to see them through their old age, is unfathomable. Extreme misery caused to the aggrieved party certainly adds to the aggravating circumstances."   For the complete report click on this link.
Barely a week ago, the Supreme Court had commuted death penalty awarded to a man for raping his minor daughter and then killing her and his wife.  Both the trial court and the high court had awarded death to the man.  But the Supreme Court lessened his punishment to life and went further, leaving it open for remission.  (I had posted on this) 

When educated learned judges of the highest court of the land place more value on a male life than that of the female, then we cannot expect ordinary families to treat their girls on par with their sons. So one thing is certain: It will be quite a while before things change for the Indian girl. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Singing girls screamed at into silence

Three 16-year-olds who got together to sing in Kashmir  have been forced to stop singing. After their first public concert where they got the third prize.

A fatwa was issued against them by the 'Grand Mufti'.

We were told that it was because singing is 'Unislamic'. They were 'advised' to sing to themselves, at home.
Then we got to hear that 31 bands played at the concert, but no fatwa was issued against them.

The reason why this 3 member band attracted the wrath of the Grand Mufti was because they were girls.
So the argument that singing is unislamic falls flat.

Then we were told it is because they were a 'rock band', a Western influence in the pristine land of Kashmir. Please forget the fact that the land has for long been ravaged by the deadly terrorists from across the border who kill innocents in the name of holy war. But we have yet to hear religious leaders issue fatwas against these men who kill and maim. It seems some among these religious men believe that it is better to hold a gun than a guitar. But only if the hands that hold the guitar are those of a woman. For the many male bands who played at the concert, had the guitar. So, even the argument of the 'Western influence' falls flat. The influence cannot be 'good' for men, and 'lethal' for women!

Then on Arnab Goswami's show a self-style leader proclaimed, "They were dancing."

"They were showing body parts," said another of these worthies. 

Surely, they were standing and singing. They might have taken a few steps.  So did the male singers of other bands. If  faces and hands are exposed body parts, then yes, they could be held guilty. But so were the men.

In reality, the protest happened because they were girls and the society has double standards for women 'enjoying' themselves, taking part in anything that soothes the senses, brings about a sense of joy or exhiliration. The same self-style leaders will not protest if these girls were to pick up rifles, or even stones.

One veiled woman who spat words of hate on Arnab's TV show called for a boycott of the girls' families. It made me wonder was she envious of them - of their youth, their talent or the fact that their 'very Islamic families' were supporting them?

This veiled woman and the many men who have raised their voices against the all-girl band wished to silence the teenagers. And they did. That is the saddest part. The girls have decided to stop singing. That a few very vocal elements can tell us how to lead our lives, how to dress and how to behave is very scary.

And what a shame that instead of nuturing and encouraging talent, we silence it into oblivion.

But I also learnt that the youth of state took out a protest march. That gives some hope. That they are willing to speak up. But it seems no one has the guts to take on the Mufti.

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