Delhi gang-rape: Who is to be blamed?

Updated: Dec 29, 2012, 11:34 AM IST

There remains no doubt that there is a growing sense of insecurity, especially among women, after the shocking gang-rape of a 23-year-old medical student - who died early Saturday in a Singapore hospital - by six monsters in a moving bus in Delhi. And this shameful act coupled with the government’s apparent lack of concern with rising cases of crime against women has triggered a nationwide outrage.

As the nation boils over the brutality that was meted to the poor student, the inept handling of the gang-rape case by the concerned authorities has further added to the people’s anger towards the Congress regime.

The Delhi gang-rape case is surely a wake-up call for the Congress government since a large part of its second term has remained marred with accusations of policy paralysis, scams and controversies. And now, its lukewarm response to the case, use of force on innocent protestors and tussle between the Delhi CM and the Delhi Police chief has further put its credibility at stake.

Although the Centre has now announced a slew of measures to prevent the recurrence of such acts and has constituted a commission of inquiry to ensure justice to the victim, it has inarguably fallen flat on the issue.

It would have been better for the Congress-led ruling coalition had someone from the government taken a stand, put pressure on the authorities to nab the culprits and demanded stricter punishment for them.

Unfortunately, nothing of that sort happened in the immediate aftermath of the incident and only when the national media focussed its attention on the issue, the government woke up from a deep slumber. If it was not so, then why did it take more than a week for our honourable Prime Minister to break his silence on the horrific gang-rape that left the entire nation in a state of shock.

The gravity of the case could be understood from the fact that UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, realising the sensitivity of the matter, termed the incident as a "matter of shame". She was probably the first one to have pressed the authorities for swift action in the case and appropriate measures to protect the victim. The matter also echoed in the NDC meet, which saw the Prime Minister outlining women’s safety as a top priority for his government.

Is it not shameful that such incidents are happening when the chairperson of the ruling alliance, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of Opposition in the Lower House and the Chief Minister of Delhi are all powerful women?

Had the officers of the Delhi Police remained vigilant on that fateful night, it would not have been possible for those six monsters to gang-rape a young woman, torture her and then dump her at a place of their convenience and elope so easily. Does it not put a question mark over the efficacy of the policing system in the country, especially in Delhi, considering its status as the national capital?

Regrettably, rape today is just another crime and such incidents happen with painful regularity. And why is there so much fuss over this one case; what about those cases which go unnoticed and incidents where the victim’s modesty is outraged inside her house by immediate family members?

In this case, the government initially failed to judge the level of frustration and anger brewing amongst the common public against poor policing that triggered further protests. There was no leader from the government who engaged with protesters at the India Gate. Otherwise, the bitter clashes between protestors, the tragic death of a constable and the unwarranted controversy over how he died could have been avoided.

While Home Secretary RK Singh was seen publicly praising the Delhi Police for cracking a “blind case”, its chief Neeraj Kumar blamed the protestors for the cop’s death without even waiting for the autopsy report. Not to mention the irresponsible remarks made by Abhijit Mukherjee (President’s son) on women protestors, though he later withdrew them.

While the girl continues to battle all odds, politics over women’s issues also goes on unabated. The war of words between Sheila Dikshit and Neeraj Kumar reflects a complete lack of accountability among politicians and administrators. It could be easily understood why the Delhi CM has blamed the Delhi Police for poor law and order situation and demanded Neeraj Kumar’s resignation, since she has no control over the police force as it comes under the Home Ministry. Behind Delhi CM’s public posturing is the fear that she is going to face the voters in the next year’s election.

After this case, the focus has shifted to the wider issue of women’s safety and the Centre and the state governments have promised to take strictest possible measures to prevent the recurrence of such a monstrous crime. But why is so much desperation to deal with the issue being shown now? Why was the need to strengthen law and order, stepping up vigilance, sensitizing, motivating, training and equipping the law and order enforcing agencies not felt earlier?

The government can bring stricter legislation but who will take the responsibility for its implementation? Is it not high time to give the police autonomy and power to deal with such situations? Power but no accountability is not acceptable.

While the nation debates whether rapists deserve death or castration, life term or their extrication from the society, it should also be discussed if these measures will have any impact on the psyche of the criminal mind.

The security situation can be improved through better law & order management and speedier justice, but we also need to deal with the fast eroding morality from our society, poor educational system, the hazards of burgeoning population, and the unequal distribution of wealth.

Unless we care about values that help build a balanced, just and responsive society, unless we inculcate proper values in our youth and learn to respect females, barbaric cases like the Delhi gang-rape will continue to shame us and bring more disgrace to the country.

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