By Santosh Bhartiya
The conscience of common man in our country is almost dead, especially when things are being seen through through the narrow prism of religion. The heartless acts of perpetrating sexual assault or rape on girls aged between 6 and 10 years were once beyond imagination, but in last few years such incidents have become more and more prevalent, which may be attributed to the fast dwindling family values and lack of communication among family members. The elders are so busy in earning livelihood – and spending whatever little spare time they have on facebook or on watching TV – that they fail to attend to the needs of the younger members of the family. They are not even interested in what other members of the family think or do. The head of the family has no desire to understand the feelings of children. Any abominable act here and there makes a momentary disturbance but that do not last long.
Two incidents that occurred recently have jolted the conscience of many people, but many remain unaffected. An 8-year-old girl was raped and murdered in Kathua district of Jammu-Kashmir. The post-mortem report revealed that she was gang raped for several days before being murdered. Later the police in their inquiry implicated some young and some not so young alleged perpetrators of the crime, which did not go down well with the some people. They did not like the court to decide whether the accused were real perpetrators of the crime or not. They took out processions with tricolors in their hands and raised slogans in support of the alleged rapists. They took out processions not because they thought the accused were innocent but because the accused were from a particular religion. The participants of the procession were not illiterate people, but were self-proclaimed well-educated, civilized people. Their act could have been justified, had the accused been arrested without investigation. Their procession, led by two ministers of the Jammu and Kashmir cabinet, in fact justified a heinous crime like rape and murder of a minor. Perhaps many people will now feel ashamed to be of part of the civilized society, whose members took out procession in support of alleged rapists. Nonetheless, the two ministers who led the procession were asked to resign by their party, but they are flexing their muscle by provoking people.
The victim belonged to Bakarwal community. Our great “religious flag bears”, who hardly bear the consequences of Pakistan’s activities, find Pakistan’s hand in the rape. They forget that community against whom they are justifying an abominable act such as rape is the community which provides vital information to the Indian intelligence agencies. They should know that the information related to Pakistani incursion in Kargil was given to the Indian Army by the people of this community only. Some people become so blinded by their chauvinistic views that they commit acts of treason.
Another incident of an alleged rape was reported from Unnao. In that case also the court will decide whether the “victim” was kidnapped and raped or not. Yet the fact remains that Section 156 (3) is often abused by unscrupulous elements to settle personal scores. Many upscale gangsters run their extortion or blackmailing rackets based on this law. Not only that even the magistrates’ court this law is abused to compel the police to file an FIR. Once an order to file an FIR is issued by a court, a cycle of complicated judicial procedure set into motion. Some people give money and get out of such entanglement, while others bravely face the court. The biggest question that Unnao incident poses is that why months of persistent complaints fell on deaf ears of the police? They only swung into action when the death of victim’s father made a nation-wide outrage. Attempts were made to prove that such incident had never happened. But the question remains as to why police did not carry out even a preliminary investigation? That might be discriminatory and unfair but at least investigation would have started. The victims of section 156 (3) are mostly people from underprivileged class. After Unnao incident, information came pouring in that there is a syndicate in every district, consisting of one or two lawyers, an honorable magistrate of the local court and the police personnel of the concerned police station. Such incidents get encouragement from these syndicates. At least this is the story in Uttar Pradesh.
However, first the police should have started investigation and submitted their report in time and then it will be court to decide as to how to deal with the matter. Since the system does not work, people do not get justice from the system. That is why, I think we have become insensitive and present such examples, which are unprecedented. Regrettably, today such saints, ascetics, Fakir, Maulvi, Pandit, Dharmaguru are hard to found who could work to awaken the conscience of the society. Instead religious fanaticism and religious violence is becoming louder and louder every passing day. Perhaps this is the reality of our time, which we are unable to accept. At the same time it is hard to believe that corrupt and dishonest people have outnumbered good ones in our society. The pertinent question: How the government can deal with such degeneration? The government should just fine-tune the system, and the police should reinvent themselves. But a crime can only be controlled by awareness in the society. From the time when society has started electing the criminals as its representative, the number of such horrific crimes has started increasing at alarming rate. Therefore, the society has to deliberate on the fact that the crime does not have any the religious face. The crime against humanity should neither be glossed in religious color nor should it be shielded by any government.
Again the question comes to the mind as to what is the solution to these problems? If we look into it minutely, then we will find one and only one solution that if we considered ourselves responsible towards society, or want to keep democracy in the country running, then we must exercise our duties while electing our representatives without falling in allurement of money, religion or caste. Secondly we should fill the communication gap in the family and discuss those questions which are dangerous for the country, for the society and for humanity. If the purging the mind of such filth is not started in earnest manner, then the difference between right and wrong will be blurred. The answer to this social ill and mental anomaly can only be mended by interaction and communication amongst each other. If this does not happen, then we should assume that humanity will fall into the darkness of heartlessness. In that no party, no religion or no family will be safe.