The whole country’s attention has been focused on the gruesome incident of 16th December, when a young girl was assaulted by six men. The anger is understandable but in this continuing discussion, we are losing perspective of the relevant points. First of all we must understand that this violence against women in India is far less compared to the western world if you count on a per capita basis. In a civilised and developed city like London, the incident of rape per capita is many times more than any city in India, including Delhi. What does that show? Most of these arguments of India not having respect for women or ’Khap’ Gram Panchayat during some ceremony or the village people being rigid are all irrelevant. The relevant parts are only that in a developing society, with people earning money there is a natural arrogance of the youth to misbehave, break the law and buy themselves out of an ugly situation. The difference is that in London or other cities, it is not possible to buy out the police. In India, unfortunately, the police have got a very bad reputation. Not only are they not vigilant but even when people in high places are caught doing something wrong, they are let off easily. This has to change.
The entire focus has to be on discipline in the police, reframing the police and keeping a strict check on what the police does, specially in the big cities. The unfortunate part is that the police does not understand this. We have to complicate the world by passing laws which are ‘unimplementable’ like laws against eating and drinking. We will find that much easier to perceive because they raid parties where the rich and the famous are partying, from that they can make a little money on the side instead of catching rapists or someone for arson and looting for which the police has to go through danger and also probably use a weapon. Raiding rich people having a party may be illegal in many ways but it is not tough work. The police must be trained to do the hard work. In London and New York, crimes are much more but the police is strict. Once you are caught, you have to pay. There will be a fine or imprisonment or both. In India anybody with small money in his pocket, may be a few thousands or one lakh, has got utter contempt for the law. You have a cocktail party and see how people react. They will start criticising politicians. If you push the discussion further they will start criticising democracy. Why? Because they are comfortably placed in a situation and these things do not matter to them. We must understand that all these things are inter linked. If we want to have democracy, we will have to have politicians. If we want democracy, we will have to have corruption. What is corruption? It is the use of greed by people. In democracy, which means freedom, our freedom means the right to act, act rightly, act wrongly. The only solution is when a person acts wrongly, he should be caught and promptly sentenced. Given the argument that the death penalty will stop all these things is wrong. The world over there is a cry to remove death penalty all together, even for murder. Where is the question of introducing it here? There should be a serious discussion by eminent retired policemen, retired bureaucrats, social scientists so that a reasonable receptive methodology is found where women can live with honour and dignity.