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Delhi gang rape - Guilty!

Guilty said the court, and in my opinion rightly so! Personally, I feel the crimes these rapists committed last year in December, deserve them the death penalty. The Nirbhaya case, as it is called, is heading to its conclusive end.

Yet, when I listen to the TV channels clamouring for death, it disappoints me to hear the baying for blood! It is only after courts pronounced them guilty, could we confidently and freely attribute the crime to them. In similar line, whether these criminals get sentenced to death or another penalty, is again a decision for those who understand such matters. I do not find it wholesome to hear phrases like, “the country awaits for Friday to see if justice is truly served”, “the youth wants to know if the courts will give justice”, etc. These are poor insinuations and calls that go against our judiciary.

Are these media channels saying that justice in the hands of our judges would not be properly served if the death penalty is not deemed appropriate? Are they suggesting that they or the public at large, knows better than those trained in evaluating and passing judgement? Or are they actually just saying, as I do, that I think these rapists deserve to hang!

There is a difference between expressing one’s view and leaving the decision to those who know to assess best. My own opinion and strong agreement is that the perpetrators of this heinous crime should pay with their life... this is coloured with my personal understanding, my whims and passions. Which is why I also realise the limitations of my own judgement call, and wait to see what the professionals decide – and prepare to accept their final decision. If that decision matches my expectations, I would feel gratified and even vindicated.

But say, the decision of the judges, on their sentence, goes against my personal call… surely I would feel dissatisfied - but more than that, I would wish to reevaluate my own thought process, its vagaries and the doubts. I may still end up not agreeing with a decision that counters my own thinking, and I may feel denied, but I surely cannot call it a failure of our justice system! I am free to disagree with the judges' call, but I as a citizen, cannot and must not prepare to label or libel it as failed justice. I would freely disagree but not presume to pronounce as I am an unqualified adjudicator.

To pre-emptively claim that less than a death sentence would be a failure of the justice system, even before that final call is taken, is gross misappropriation. Instead, such talk by tv-channels, is a failure of the media, in my opinion. By asserting that only death would serve true justice, is clearly them over reaching their platform.

I only wish our TV anchors learn to use phrases like, “our opinion is” or “we hope for” or “the mood on the street is” and end with the caveat that the judiciary would know what to do best – that would be the better tack, for our nascent media to take. Instead of pretending to be the fourth pillar, they should be so!

A civilised society must never behave like a lynch mob and justice does not mean "decision by democracy". The law is by the people & of the people; thereafter, making judgements basis that law, is best left as the specialised domain of professional judges. Everyone, the mob or the media, cannot be arbiters, that role is solely that of a qualified ombudsman.

"Death to all rapists", I say, but let that final decision be taken by those who know the law; and then seek to strive to live a better & more equitable life oneself! This latter can include voting to change the law, but it most definitely includes living by the law!

BTW, I am confident that the guilty in this case will pay with their lives!
What is you opinion?

1 comment:

  1. full text from Tejpal Tehelka Victim (as she is known) refuting insinuations and putting across a powerful message-

    I am heartened by the broad support I have received over the past fortnight. However, I am deeply concerned and very disturbed by insinuations that my complaint is part of a pre-election political conspiracy.

    I categorically refute such insinuations and put forward the following arguments:

    The struggle for women to assert control over their lives and their bodies is most certainly a political one, but feminist politics and its concerns are wider than the narrow universe of our political parties. Thus, I call upon our political parties to resist the temptation to turn a very important discussion about gender, power and violence into a conversation about themselves.

    Suggestions that I am acting on someone else’s behest are only the latest depressing indications that sections of our public discourse are unwilling to acknowledge that women are capable to making decisions about themselves for themselves.

    In this past week, television commentators who should know better, have questioned my motivations and my actions during and after Mr. Tejpal molested me. Some have questioned the time it took for me to file my complaint, more inquisitive commentators have questioned the use of the word “sexual molestation” versus words like “rape.”

    Perhaps the hardest part of this unrelentingly painful experience has been my struggle with taxonomy. I don’t know if I am ready to see myself as a “rape victim”, for my colleagues, friends, supporters and critics to see me thus. It is not the victim that categorizes crimes: it is the law. And in this case, the law is clear: what Mr. Tejpal did to me falls within the legal definition of rape.

    Now that we have a new law that broadens the definition of rape, we should stand by what we fought for. We have spoken, time and again, about how rape is not about lust or sex, but about power, privilege and entitlement. Thus this new law should be applicable to everybody – the wealthy, the powerful, and the well connected – and not just to faceless strangers.

    As seen by some of the responses to this case, instances of familial and custodial rape present doughty challenges to even the most adamantine feminists. Unlike Mr. Tejpal, I am not a person of immense means. I have been raised singlehandedly by my mother’s single income. My father’s health has been very fragile for many years now.

    Unlike Mr. Tejpal, who is fighting to protect his wealth, his influence and his privilege, I am fighting to preserve nothing except for my integrity and my right to assert that my body is my own and not the plaything of my employer. By filing my complaint, I have lost not just a job that I loved, but much-needed financial security and the independence of my salary. I have also opened myself to personal and slanderous attack. This will not be an easy battle.

    In my life, and my writings, I have always urged women to speak out and break the collusive silence that surrounds sexual crime. This crisis has only confirmed the myriad difficulties faced by survivors. First, our utterances are questioned, then our motivations, and finally our strength is turned against us: a politician will issue a statement claiming that speaking out against sexual violence will hurt our professional prospects; an application filed in the Delhi High Court will question why the victim remained “normal”.

    Had I chosen silence in this instance, I would not have been able to face either myself or the feminist movement that is forged and renewed afresh by generations of strong women.

    Finally, an array of men of privilege have expressed sorrow that Tehelka, the institution, has suffered in this crisis. I remind them that this crisis was caused by the abusive violence of the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, and not by an employee who chose to speak out.

    Thank you everyone for your support.


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