Country with a conviction rate of 27% for a heinous crime where in a victim is left with scars not over the body but over the soul is called as rape, doesn’t it emboldens the vultures to look for more prey. Either it is Bilkis Banno rape or Unnao rape case or the Priyanka Reddy case, nothing has changed in decades when it comes to women’s protection and justice in India. According to the NCRB data, 4,15,786 rape cases were reported across India between 2001 and 2017. On average, 67 women were raped every day across the country during these 17 years, or, in other words, about three women had been raped every hour and there are those cases as well which were never reported due the societal pressure or the fear of losing their lives. 73 years of so called independence wherein we blow the trumpet of feminism and women empowerment however we have nothing to do with the reality.
THE AWFUL NIGHT
16th December 2012 was marked as the black day for the entire nation, as India lost a daughter. The news took a form of massive protest across the country after a 23-year-old Physiotherapy intern Jyoti Singh along with her male friend was beaten, gang raped and tortured in a private bus which they boarded from munirka bus stand while they were travelling. The bus included six members along with the driver who all were responsible in the atrocious crime. All the six members rapped the girl, beaten her male friend with an iron rod and later disfigured the girl with the same rod. Both the accused suffered critical injuries and was thrown out from the bus in the corner of the road with no peace of clothing over their bodies.
THE FLITHY FIASCO
After the incident the whole fiasco started which wane out the faith of people from police and judiciary both at the same time. The disturbing part of the event was that despite two vans present near the crime scene the police stations were busy deciding on whose jurisdiction it will fall into rather than taking immediate actions. The incident generated widespread national and international coverage and was widely condemned both in India and abroad. Simultaneously, public protest against state and central governments for failing to provide adequate security for women took place in New Delhi, where thousands of protesters clashed with the security forces. Based on that horrific and devastating incident the international channel BBC made a documentary “India’s Daughter” which was filmed and directed by Leslee Udwin and was a part of BBC’s ongoing storyville series, depicting the brutality of the situation.
The most bizarre part of whole story was the convict who caused a major mutilation to the accused was set free under the juvenile justice act. The JJB (Juvenile justice board) rejected a bone ossification test requested by police for the real age identification of the convict. The irony of the situation was that a person who committed a sickening crime was granted 10,000 for opening a tailoring shop along with the equipment’s required. The sequence of events erupted a massive protest which rolled out across various states of the country.
On 10th September 2013 the four remaining adult’s defendants were found guilty of rape and murder and three days later were sentenced to death by hanging however even after more than 7 years of the harrowing case nothing had changed for the Indian judicial system. Event after declaration of the capital punishment the cases have been going round and round on dates for the execution of the convicts. First death warrant for four of the malefactors was issued by the court for 22nd January which was later postponed to February 1st by January 17th on courts orders. During the proceedings Mukesh told the court that he doesn’t not want to be represented by advocate Vrinda Grover after which advocate Ravi Qazi took the case. Another aspect of the story was that three of the convicts have filed a mercy petition to the president which all was eventually rejected by Ram Nath Kovind and that’s the reason due to which the date of execution was being delayed for four of the rapists.
Later the date which was assigned for the execution was again rescheduled to 3rd march and as per the current scenario the date has now been extended to 20th march for the execution to take place. During the whole sequence of events the faith of the people from the judiciary was fading as the verdict of the convicts was rescheduling on loop. People started to doubt the power of the judiciary as it might convert the capital punishment into lifetime imprisonment.
There are various aspects united with the case and specifically with the capital punishment. India has seen only five instances of capital Punishment since 1995, where a total of twenty- six execution has taken place. Seeing the numbers it is very clear that somewhere deep down India as a country does not wants the capital punishment to be delivered to every criminal until and unless the crime is way too heinous however one of the major reason for defending these offenders in this particular case is that if they pertain the punishment then there are n number of files which will be held opened and cases like these consist of many politician who might have to go through the same procedure and punishments.
However, from 2012 the time of Indian National Congress to 2020 where Bhartiya Janta Party is ruling the country, nothing major has been changed in terms of women protection and justice provided to them. There’s a lot hullabaloo for women empowerment, equality and feminism as well as every political party of the country is concerned for their protection and rights however the irony of the situation is that once the incident took place then only sympathy is been given and maximum in major cases the life of one innocent is been exchanged in the form of their blood money to their family.
THE CURRENT SCENARIO
After 7 years of long fight finally “Nirbhaya” got her justice on 20th march 2020 at 5:30am in the morning when all the four convicts were hanged to death which was what they deserved. On the contrary this decision which took a prolonged period of time is now being held in the witness box and questioned by the people as with how much intensity and what impact the decision might have created on these vultures. There are various questions erupting from the public end that how much reduction in these kind of heinous crimes will India witness in the coming future or maybe earlier deliverance of punishment would have given a strong message to the people.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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