Horrendous sex crime, yet again in India


Last week Cassandra wrote with smug satisfaction of the measures, mostly initiated by the UN and even our own government, to ensure the safety of women from abuse, violence and being taken the upper hand of, mostly by male brute force. Conventions and penal codes offer security and justice in case of abuse of women, whatever form it takes, but the actual implementation and enactment of conventions and laws is far from satisfactory, and sad to say, specially, in third world countries. Women are still raped and even killed due to men’s lust all over the globe. In patriarchal society such as ours, it looks very much as if some men felt they are immune from the law. Punishments are inadequate for the immensity of their heinous crimes with regard to what happens to their victims and the apparent nonchalance with which they abuse and rape innocent women.

Millions of Indians have taken to the streets of Hyderabad, New Delhi and Bangalore to protest against a rape and murder in Hyderabad, while in the US, the case against Jeffrey Epstein is going on apace, though he is dead, with Prince Andrew to be summoned to give evidence.

The recent case in India

Visuals were shown on BBC and CNN on the protests on Saturday in the three Indian cities, which surely will spread. It is against the gang rape of a 27-year-old veterinary doctor in Hyderabad on Wednesday 27 November night. Her body was set on fire and dumped under a bridge. It has sent shockwaves through India with thousands of women taking to the streets. As noted by a very articulate reporter from New Delhi reporting to CNN, the women are not merely protesting; they are furious and more at the tardiness of the courts in bringing justice to the perpetrators. They demand castration of such offenders. Police reports and witness accounts suggest the attack had been premeditated. The woman’s scooter tyres had allegedly been deflated by four men, who then sat waiting in a lorry nearby and approached her to offer help. She was allegedly dragged to an uninhabited scrubland near the motorway that was hidden from the road by bushes, where she was smothered to muffle her screams and gang raped. It is believed they then suffocated her. Her body was transported in the lorry to a motorway underpass, where the men set it alight and dumped it at around 2.00 a m. Her body was found at 5.00 a m by a resident of a nearby village who noticed smoke. Four men, aged between 20 and 26, have been arrested and placed in 14-day judicial custody. They have admitted to the crime.

The case has brought to mind the even more horrendous rape and grievous injury caused to 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern Jyoti Singh in a private bus which she got into with her friend, Awindra Pratap Pandey. There were six men in the bus, including the driver, all of whom raped the woman and beat her friend. This was in 2012. She lived to tell her tale and was, I believe, air lifted to Australia for treatment of her physical injuries but died. Her mother is reported to be in the forefront of the present protest in New Delhi. The 2012 outcry resulted in a change in the law on sexual crimes, but those six men in the bus who acted sadistically demented are still living, having appealed to the higher court. The courts move slowly; we well know that in our country too.

Over in India #MeToo is also gathering pace and clout. The latest is cases brought on against Bollywood moguls. One woman producer/ director when interviewed about her being raped by a cinema high up, said he got off lightly through influence he wielded.

In Pakistan, the law was that if a woman reports a rape she has to have a witness who corroborates her complaint. Isn’t that the height of absurdity? This was told us by a woman Pakistani lawyer way back two decades ago. We are sure the law has been made more sensible and punishments sterner, specially with Imran Khan as PM. Shockingly, the Indian reporter who spoke with CNN said that though official figures say 200 rapes occur daily in India, the number surely is higher as rape is not often reported due to the social stigma that goes with it. It’s the same case here, and probably even worse with girls who are molested fighting shy of reporting the offence to the police. I mentioned to a group of friends over lunch on Wednesday the case of the Indian veterinarian. One of them came back pat: "More rapes happen in Sri Lanka but women just won’t resort to justice. Too scared, too modest."

One rapist, some years ago, very nearly escaped scot free due to his political clout and being a Pradeshiya Sabha chairman. He was brought to justice by the British government intervening as it was one of their citizens who had been killed before the rape was committed on his Russian holiday companion. Is this person still in prison, surely not on death row and awaiting a pardon? We won’t believe he will get one, unless a prime ministerial pardon is possible!

We had another case where a young girl went to a film star’s home at around 8.00 p m to ask for employment. She had been accompanied by an aunt who allowed her to go the actor’s home alone – accomplice? After conversing with the girl, the man had volunteered to drop her home as it late, and en route a bit of ‘play’ enacted in a guest house. Cass’ unmerciful opinion was that the girl invited his advances, then reciprocated for sure and reported it to the police days after the incident. She asked for what she got and then probably made some money, or hoped to. The fakers have to be separated from the genuinely abused.

Recent baffling incident

Humour about a curious abduction is making the rounds. Heard from a driver that they ask each other to lash them and abduct them so that they can request asylum in a safe western country, and receive it too!

Cassandra is mum on this serious incident that gets curiouser and curiouser. She is not only a fool who fears to tread precarious ground but also well knows her limitations. She cannot even look to the future and foretell the answer to the question that is on most people’s lips: faked or true?

The Hyderabad veterinary doctor lived far away from us but the sorrow is deep at the fate that overtook her. Many professional women scooter about in India; so she too opted for this mode of transport. Death sentences do not seem to have an effect on men who cannot curb their base instincts – Cass does not term it desire or even lust. It is an insult to compare such as the four recent Indian rapists to animals. In this case it is worse than the result of sudden lust; the crime was premeditated.

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