Who will protect the children and women of India?
Even as one goes through a gamut of emotions – shock, anger, rage, horror and tears - at the horrific and brutal rape of a five-year-old child in Delhi, one question prods the mind continuously - to what depraved levels can human beings stoop to and how long and how many rapes before the authorities in this country wake up?
Each one of us has children at home – in our family and our extended family – just imagining anything like what happened to the innocent child in Delhi sends shivers down the spine. It is barely four months since the brutal gang-rape of ‘Damini’ on December 16 last year and another incident had shamed the national capital of India. If that incident had shocked and outraged the nation for the sheer brutality of it, this incident is equally horrifying and has made headlines worldwide. What a hypocritical nation are we – on the one hand we worship Goddesses as mothers and on the other we kill and rape and brutalize our women and children.
The child was allegedly raped by her neighbour who held her captive for days. The neighbour lived on the ground floor of the building in Gandhi Nagar in which the victim also stayed. And if this was not enough, as per the doctors, foreign objects were also inserted into the private parts of the girl child - a 200 ml bottle and two or three pieces of candle. Just the thought of such an inhuman and barbaric act makes me want death for the man who was responsible for such an act. And I am sure, this is an emotion that women and most of the men in this country and around the world will empathize with.
What right does a man, who ravages a child in the most horrific manner, to live? Or for that matter, does the juvenile who tortured the Delhi gang-rape victim on the night of December 16 with an iron rod, which eventually killed her, has the right to get away after serving just couple of years in prison. The women of this country have a right to live the way they want to, without fear and in freedom and the children of this country have a right to grow up in the most normal and healthy way that they should. And those who take away this right from them, the right to live should be taken away from them.
And the so called ‘human right activists’ who come on television and who write columns in newspapers advocating the right of these debased members of the society should answer a simple question – will their reaction be the same if this happened to one of their own and what about the ‘rights’ of the victims in the first place?
How long and how many rapes more before those who are responsible for the safety of us women will wake up? It is obvious that just making and passing a new rape bill is not enough – the realities on the ground will have to be altered and the will to implement the law will have to be there. The police force and the law authorities at the lower levels have to be sensitized and have to instill the fear in those who may think of committing such heinous crimes.
The very fact that it was alleged by the family of the girl child that a policeman tried to bribe him with Rs 2000 to keep quiet speaks volumes of the mentality of our security forces in particular and the men of this country in general. Not too long ago a policeman in Uttar Pradesh dismissed the claims of a women in her thirties with two children who had come to file a complaint of being raped saying that no one would rape such a ‘purani aurat’(stale woman). And in the December 16 gang-rape case, the policemen who arrived on the spot where ‘Damini’ and her friend were lying naked and injured, wasted time in sorting out as to under whose jurisdiction the case was, rather than taking them to the nearest hospital as soon a as possible.
If the women of this country are turning cynic and feel that nothing will ever change, even if a new anti-rape bill (Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013) has been passed by Parliament, then they have reasons to be. One look at the sheer number of rape cases being reported not just of adults but of children from all across the country is enough to fill our hearts with horror. If one were to look at Delhi alone, then the so called ‘rape capital of the country’ witnessed around four rape cases a day in 2013, almost double the rate in 2012. The city witnessed a total of 181 rapes between January 01 and February 15. This was accepted by none other then Minister of State for Home Affairs Mullappally Ramachandran in the Rajya Sabha. During this period the average for 2012 was around two.
And what is most difficult to digest and accept are the reports of children and girls being raped and sodomized by their fathers and brothers and uncles. One can never understand as to how lust or whatever one may call it can turn a man into such an animal that he even forgets the fact that the person who he is brutalizing is one of their own. Can anyone explain as to why a father or a brother rapes his own daughter or his own sister – someone whom he has given birth to and someone whom he is supposed to protect?
Post Script: The family of ‘Damini’ was recently honored for the courage with which their daughter had fought with the rapists and for the dignity with which the family had conducted themselves. Whereas the father said that he had never differentiated between their sons and daughter, the mother with folded hands and tears in her eyes appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who was present there, and to the authorities of this country to maintain the law and order in this country in such a way so that what had happened to her daughter does not happen ever again. To the men and the politicians and the lawmakers and the police of this country I ask – Are you listening?