Saturday, December 29, 2012

Shattered Hopes!

Shattered Hopes

Delhi is yet again in news for the brutal gang rape of a 23-year old girl. This case has not only sparked protests but also raised a national debate about violence against women in India, largest democracy of world. 

The gang rape triggered nationwide demonstrations with protesters from all walks of life converging at Raisina Hill, India Gate and Jantar Mantar, also in other parts of the country, to protest against the heinous crime and seek speedy justice for the girl who was interning as a physiotherapist at a Delhi hospital.

The fatal incident took place on December 16th, 2012.

The victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student and her male friend, were on their way home after watching a movie in Saket in South Delhi. They boarded a bus that was being driven by joyriders at about 9.30 pm. The woman became suspicious when the bus deviated from its normal route and its doors were shut. When she objected, the group of six men already on board taunted her. When the victim's friend tried to intervene, he was beaten, gagged and knocked unconscious with an iron rod. The men then dragged the woman to the rear of the bus beating her with the rod and raping her while the bus drove. The bus kept circling a 31-kilometre stretch in South Delhi, its tinted windows concealing the savagery within as it rolled unstopped through a series of police checkpoints.

Medical reports later suggested that the woman suffered serious injuries to her abdomen, intestines and genitals due to assault and penetration using a blunt object suspected to be the same rod. That rod was later described by police as being a rusted, L-shaped implement of the type used with a wheel jack. After the beatings and rape ended, the gang threw the two from the moving bus. 

The woman and her companion were found by a passer-by on the road, partially clothed and unconscious, around 11 pm. The passer-by phoned Delhi Police, who took them to hospital, where the woman was given emergency treatment.

Today on 29th December’ 2012 the victim succumbed to her injuries in Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore because of the multi-organ failure following serious injuries to her body and brain. She died at 4:45 a.m. local time (2:15 a.m. Indian time). She was earlier treated at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. 

The incident has brought two things in focus- first the protest demonstrations in different parts of India and second our age old laws that lack any concrete system to curb heinous crime like these.

Central Delhi were closed down today for an indefinite period as a precautionary measure by Delhi Police to prevent agitators from reaching India Gate to protest the death of the gang-rape victim. While the Government has turned Central Delhi into a fortress once again, reimposing Section 144, shutting 10 metro stations and blocking roads leading to India Gate, Delhi is back on the streets for silent protests. People do not want violence but they want to let the administration know that they are not going to take it lying down anymore.

The nation will pay homage to the 23-year-old Delhi gang rape victim. But beyond that customary homage, the need of the hour is to give justice to her and punish the culprits.
Though the government has promised to amend criminal laws to include the death penalty for extreme cases of sexual assault, will it be implemented or not will be proved in the time to come. 

A movement that gets the government to initiate a system where such crimes do not happen is the need of the hour. Let’s stop debating over the pros and cons of the death penalty as a deterrent of crime and, instead, compel the system to give out speedy justice to such victims.

As for the government, instead of merely going into alarm mode against expected protests, it should cultivate honesty of intention in tackling crime. 

This incident yet again exposed the growing violence in our society and a lack of an administrative system which can curb such criminal activity through simple measures like a transparent and honest transport department, screening of drivers of public transport, vigilant police and technology that can keep track of anti-social elements.

As a population let’s be the monitors which have the ability to curb crime not just at the legal level but also at homes as parents, in schools as teachers and in society in general as a sensitive citizenry. The well sought after practical initiative is required from our government, who have been quite busy in blame game, beating around the bush and using these events for their political endeavors.

The photos of this post are not clicked by me.