Crime and justice

An aam admi like me is perplexed, disappointed and disillusioned by the manner in which the criminal cases in our country are being dealt with.

I am no legal luminary, for that matter I am not even basically qualified in that field to venture an opinion. Nevertheless, life has given me enough awareness to make out that things in this vital area of our land are not moving the way they should be, and like all others of my ilk, am enraged over and over again to see the perpetrators of heinous crimes go scot free or at the most let off with a perfunctory pittance of a penalty.

On the occasion of the recently celebrated International Women’s day, the braveheart of our land was honoured posthumously in the US and befitting tributes have been accorded to her by our government by naming the indigenous cruise missile as Nirbhaya and considering a proposal to name the Chhapra-Ahmedabad Express which passes through her hometown Ballia, as Nirbhaya Express. It is also heartening that our dispensation is earnestly trying to implement stringent anti-rape laws incorporating death penalty in extreme cases.

As we all know, the atrocities against women continued unabated over a number of years, undoubtedly due to the complacent attitude of the law enforcement authorities and to our easily-manoeuvrable criminal justice delivery system, which has enabled the culprits to roam free  and even repeat the crime. Nirbhaya’s case became the proverbial last straw culminating in a tsunami of people’s movement that woke up and activated the dormant national conscience and reminded the concerned powers that be of their committed duties and responsibilities in this regard.

The credit for this paradigm change goes entirely to Nirbhaya and the power of the masses who have understood their democratic rights more than those who are expected to know better. Despite being fully aware of the highly emotional and ethical human aspects involved in this vital issue, some sections of our society, citing certain so-called humanitarian considerations, which lesser mortals like me are unable to comprehend and appreciate, oppose capital punishment as something cruel (!) — may be out of an apprehension that the culprit would kill the victim to eliminate evidence which the rapist would certainly resort to even otherwise.

Enough atrocities have been committed on innocent women and minors and enough tears have been shed. Let us show the world that ours is a civilised nation which respects women. Let no one forget that ours is the land of the Mahabharata in which even the noble souls who supported ‘adharma’ by circumstantial compulsions were eliminated to uphold ‘dharma’. Why, then, waste our tears for heartless criminals who have no qualms about molesting and killing women at will? No amount of sacrifice is too big and no action is too harsh if only to protect our precious daughters, who make life on this planet meaningful and beautiful, against evil forces.

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