Measures to Prevent Rape Cases In India: Justice for Asifa 


INTRODUCTION


The heinous crime committed against humanity in the rape cases of Kathua and Unnao, and the subsequent political patronage provided to shield the criminals, reveals the extent of degradation of our souls as a community. Every Indian must hang his head in shame.

The level of lawlessness prevalent in the country is a direct consequence of poor character building, insensitive and self-oriented social upbringing and eroding human values.

The country is being pushed into an abyss of ‘jungle rule’ that has ushered in an era of ‘Babhu Bali’s’, who can act with utter impunity to laws and regulations at the behest of their political masters and at the receiving end is the ‘Aam Aadmi’.

The Kathua Case

The gory details of the Kathua case are so chilling that it can shake the conscience of even the most hardened criminal:

In January this year, an eight year old girl, Asifa Bano belonging to the Bakherwal community at the Rassana area of Kathua was gang-raped repeatedly inside a village ‘temple’ and kept sedated for hours before being killed by six men by brutally hitting her with a stone. Imagine one of the culprits was ‘invited” all the way from Meerut to “satisfy his lust”.

It is believed that the kidnapping, rape and killing of the girl of the Bakherwal community was part of a planned, chilling strategy to instill fear and drive the nomadic tribe out of the region.

The most appalling and unjustified act was that of Jammu High Court Bar Association, who passed a resolution to protest and not to attend the court in order to save the culprits. Shamelessly, the lawyers heckled the police team and prevented from submitting the charge sheet before the Chief Judicial Magistrate court in Kathua.

Furthermore, the politicians (two BJP ministers) leading the charge, gave it a communal colour and allegedly threatened the police to not make any arrests in the case.

It is completely unimaginable and incomprehensible that in the name of religion there are people trying to support a crime, which I would say falls in the ‘rarest of the rare’ category.

The Unnao Case

The Unnao case is no less audaciously dreadful, where a BJP MLA, Kuldeep Singh Sengar, intoxicated on power, raped a minor dalit girl, assaulted and beat her father to death.

The girl in her statement said that she had gone to meet the MLA along with a neighbour to seek his help in getting employment. The following week the girl went missing and was recovered by police after 10 days from a village in Auraiya.

Police recorded her statement, and as per her, the police did not allow her to name the MLA in the statement.

The girl’s father, who had come down to Unnao with family for hearing in the case was allegedly assaulted by MLA’s brother Atul Singh and his aides in Makhi. The man was then handed over to the police, which lodged a case under Section 25 (illegal possession of firearm).

The girl’s father continued to be beaten up and eventually died in district hospital where he was taken for medical examination by the jail authorities.

The girl and her family were threatened with dire consequences and she was left with no recourse but to attempt a suicide outside the Chief Minister’s residence.

The law and order machinery and the government officials were directly in league with Kuldeep Singh Sengar and he was only arrested after the case was handed over to the CBI for further investigation.

Measures to Prevent Dastardly Crimes against Humanity

In order to address the roots cause of such dastardly crimes against humanity, the following measures will be necessary:

Executing Police Reforms:

The perception of a common person about the police force is that it is partisan, politicised, and generally not very competent.

‘Police’ is an exclusive subject under the ‘State List’ of the Indian Constitution and hence, states can enact any law on the subject of police. This is the major reason for a high degree of its politicization and allegiance towards ruling party.

It may be surprising to learn that India still follows the Police Act, 1861, framed by the British, largely with an aim to crush dissent.

In 1979, in order to address the problems faced by the police department, the National Police Commission (NPC) was set up to report on policing and give recommendations for reform.

The Commission produced eight reports, dozens of topic specific recommendations and also a Model Police Act that did not see the light of the day.

A PIL was filled by two former DGPs in 1998 regarding the implementation of the recommendations of NPC.

Eventually, in 2006, the Supreme Court passed its verdict on the subject.

Thereafter, the Central government formed a committee under the Chairpersonship of Soli Sorabjee to create a Model Police law in line with the Court’s directions that could replace the colonial 1861 Police Act.

The directions included:

Establishing a State Security Commission (SSC) as a watchdog with members from the government, judiciary and the civil society. The commission was supposed to frame policies which make sure that “state government does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the state police”.

The order asked for tenure of DGP and field officers to be fixed at two years.

A Police Establishment Board (PEB), instead of the government, would deal with transfers of policemen.

It also asked for separation of investigation and law and order units for speedy probe.

Though, 17 states have passed new Acts on the subject, while 12 have issued executive orders as per SC directions. However, the states have blatantly violated the SC directions while enacting their Act, for instance, the state governments have given themselves the sole discretion to appoint police chiefs instead of choosing from a panel recommended by the UPSC.

Another Police Act drafting committee was also formed in 2013 to make revisions to the 2006 model. However, the recommendations of this committee have not been pursued any further.

Special Fast Track Courts for Heinous Crimes:

The award of punishments for heinous crimes must be exemplary and justice must be meted out swiftly.

The present law and order machinery is slow and tardy and allows the criminals to breach the system using muscle and money power.

There must be no further provision of re-apeal, mercy or Presidential clemency once such a court has promulgated its verdict.

Harsher Punishments for Crimes against Juveniles:

As has been suggested by Maneka Gandhi that Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) must be amended to serve death penalty for the rape of children below 12 years of age.

The same will upscale the degree of deterrence in the minds of such criminals.

Implementing the 2013 Lokpal Legislation:

In case the legislation is implemented, the Lokpal would have the powers to oversee the CBI’s work.

The same would not only ease the burden of the courts, but also remove the tag of “caged parrot” from the CBI, which will allow it the much desired freedom to operate without political influence and interference.

Legislation against Paid Media:

Paid and biased media reporting is doing the greatest disservice to our national integration. The politician and political parties must be barred from owing or sponsoring any media houses.

Missing the “Wood for the Trees”:

The classes and divisions being created for vote bank politics is eroding our homogeneity. We are Indians later, first we are a class, a community or from so and so state/ region.

The sense of preserving our heritage and culture and the need to maintain our core values is being extrapolated by Godmen and politicians to create a society of narrow minded fanatics.

Rather than focusing on human values (as should have been in Asifa’s case), people were found standing up for criminals, just because they belonged to their community.

‘Unity in diversity’ needs to be drummed in at every level.

Educational institutions and media must come forward to play a vital role in integrating our society.

Instilling Core Indian Morals, Values and Ethics:

Character building is an important responsibility of parents and teachers during the formative years of a child.

An eco system conducive to propagating every citizen’s moral responsibilities, sensitivities and sensibilities is cardinal for nurturing a mature, tolerant and confident society.

Compulsory Military Service for Administrators’ and Politicians:

This may be a moot point for discussion, but I honestly feel that two years of compulsory military service should be mandatory for all candidates aspiring to administer the country.

They must be attached with units deployed in hostile areas, so that our administrators learn to respect and value human life and possess adequate disciple, morality and humbleness while taking decisions on the future of the nation.

CONCLUSION

For just once keep all your caste, religion and other dividing factors aside & think by keeping humanity on top. Contradictory statements of some politicians of comparing women body parts with fruits for attraction is a pierced slap on humanity. Justice not only for Asifa but for a girl in every thirty minutes in India.