Wheels of injustice

Given resource constraints, more patrol vans in Delhi and other metros mean less security for women in villages and small towns, where rapes are higher but never get reported


TR jawahar | December 26, 2012

Five senses make an animal. But the sixth sense often makes a male a bigger beast. And this beastly side of man is manifested maximum in crimes against women. The predatory instincts of a male vis-a-vis the vulnerable female never ceases. Neither modernity nor spirituality can camouflage this primal passion which can cross the limit of a natural procreative urge and land in the realms of pervert pleasure. But such biologically bestowed or God-given, scripturally sanctioned or culturally ingrained advantage does not absolve a man of his violent transgressions and certainly does not dissolve a female’s right to dignity and safety.

The Delhi bus rape, the latest such crime, and surely not the last, is a gory personal tragedy and a national shame. Arguments faulting the victims simply lose relevance in the face of such physical and mental suffering. India’s justice system has no face to show: Its laws are blindfolded and the long arms that wield it remain folded. The hue and cry across the nation, as also the calls for some decisive changes in the letter, spirit and course of law in such cases is natural and justified. Expectedly, the police, the last runner in the criminal justice delivery relay are in the dock for holding the baton in their soiled hands but failing to cross the threshold. It is nobody’s claim that all is fine with them. But if we care to look and listen beyond the lighted candles and din, we can easily spot all the earlier players who have faltered in their roles and thus held back the cops.

First, are we advancing the cause of justice by just undermining the police summarily and making them seem worse than the rapists? For instance, in due respect to the palpable public anger against the police and in all sincerity as a concerned citizen too, the Delhi Joint Commissioner appeared on a TV channel. But he was consistently shouted down by women activists and the anchor and could not utter a single sentence. The elite activists surely had the satisfaction of ‘voicing’ public opinion which was anyway overflowing, besides cornering some prime time fame. But public interest would have been better served if the obviously more sensible officer were allowed his say which could have thrown much needed light on the prevailing reality and precautions. Also, imagine the effect on the morale of the good ones in the force. And what discouragement to aspirants wanting to change its image.

Equally sickening was the simulated show by parliament and the politicos. They are entitled to their quota of angst. And the raw, no-frills nature of the rapists have made it easy for all across the political spectrum to unite. But the hypocrisy, hysteria and hyperbole get exposed if we see their actions. For instance, Sonia, the de facto ruler and hence the one answerable, maintains a safe and sterile distance from the barbarous act, joins the rest of the crowd, condemns, makes an ‘exclusive’ visit on the victim and in a nonchalant act of moral abdication, writes to the Delhi CM. Now, what stops the Delhi CM from following her leader’s (all women, at that) lead and writing to the CoP? What can cops do that these two powerful women cannot? Again, besides public money, these political VIPs, women included, amass the bulk as also the best of the police force for their own security. Now, is it not crime against women that S-in-law Robert Vadra does his dubious deals under Z-security cover while ‘sisters, mothers and daughters’ elsewhere are left an easy prey to rampaging rapists?

That the debate which should be women-centric has become Delhi-centric instead is most painful. Given resource constraints, more patrol vans in Delhi and other metros mean less security for women in villages and small towns, where rapes are higher but never get reported or rhetoricised. Fast tracking in the present case is fine but what about the earlier ones in legal limbo? Is sensitivity a selective feeling, spurred only by the latest in memory? And having hanged the cops, good and bad alike, what of the justice system that had let off many a proven sexual offender? What to say of the honourable woman president Prathiba Patil who pardoned a slew of convicted rapists, right before the very sympathetic eyes of her mentor, Saint Signora and all the now-afire women MPs, activists and the nation itself?

How aware are we of warnings of psychologists and sociologists that abusers of women and children actually lurk in close inner circles? And what of family elders watching sexually explicit content invading the drawing rooms routinely, with nary a sense of coyness or shyness, little realising that their numbed and de-sensitised teen sitting in the same room, having now got parental sanction too, could be a potential victim or villain? And finally, in these stressful times when everyone is on the brink, should not each male breach his own veneer of chivalry and gentlemanliness, search for the misogynist monsters lingering inside him and shunt them out before they get unleashed on the nearest woman, be she a relative or a stranger?

The depraved rapist and the erring cop are just cogs, vital no doubt, in the larger wheel that is ever running over women!



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