Monday, 9 December 2019

Time For Gulabi Gang

Updated: June 21, 2014 1:48 pm

Time For Gulabi Gang According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, a woman is raped every 20 minutes. This has been consistent for the last few years. This figure should not only shock and alarm us, but make us angry. These are wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends—but, most importantly, they are innocent women and little girls who do not deserve to be violated in any way. Women in India are forced to live with this statistic and to live in fear of stigmatisation by their society—and, often, their family and friends—if they report such crimes. In a shocking new trend, juveniles as young as fourteen have committed rape. This is done with the abject understanding of the fact that they will get away with none or little punishment for their act. In response, some women in India have stood up to fight, vigilante-style, for the justice that their country denies them. The Gulabi Gang (the Pink Gang) is a group that has gained much more national attention. Its notoriety is due to the fact that it is the largest female vigilante group in the world, and also to the physical beatings the group administers to abusive men, and even to police officers who do not report cases of domestic violence or rape. Sampath Pal Devi, the leader of the Gulabi Gang, believes that in a country that is ruled by men, the women must fight their own battles. “We don’t like using violence, but sometimes that’s the only way people listen. If a person commits a crime, shouldn’t they be punished? If law enforcement does not punish the criminal, should their crime just disappear? The first answer is yes, and the second answer is no,” she says. Although these women fight for a cause that needs fighting for, some believe violence is never the answer. However, vigilantism, and the violence that often accompanies it, have a purpose in this world. Rapist and child molesters should all get the death sentence and the sentence should be carried out no less than seven days after sentencing. Molesting a child scars them for life not just during their childhood years. These monsters don’t see anything wrong with what they do either. That is the sad part. We have had a round of protest marches, candle lighting, heated debates in the media and the parliament. New laws have been enacted and put into place and exemplary punishment meted out in quick trials. But even this has not deterred the perverts. It is time vigilante justice should be done. In 2004, a group of angry women lynched a man accused of rape as he was being escorted into a courthouse in Nagpur. Many of the stone-throwing attackers were women from Kasturba Nagar, where Akku Yadav, the deranged criminal, had carried out his attacks for 10 years. After the lynching, some of the women told the media the execution was planned: “We could not tolerate the humiliation he subjected us for the past decade.” Five of the women attackers were arrested; however, a crowd of 400 women blocked the courtroom demanding their release. The incident evoked strong reactions across India because for once poor and illiterate women took the law in their own hands and meted out their own swift justice on a serial rapist. In 2008, a mob lynched an alleged rapist in a village in Bihar’s Saran district. Karia Sah, in his 20s, was lynched by a mob after a village girl, the rape victim, told villagers that she was gang raped by three persons on the point of arms. The mob also assaulted and half killed two other rapists Munna Mahto and Karia Raqi, who were identified by the rape victim. In February this year, a woman armed with an iron rod beat to death a man who raped her five-year-old daughter in Ranchi. The woman, a day labourer left her daughter alone at home. Arjun Tamba, 27, allegedly raped the girl. When the woman returned home from work, the girl told her of the sexual assault. The woman promptly picked up an iron rod, went over to Tamba’s house and beat him to death. The woman did not try to escape; instead she surrendered to the police. The poignant photos of the two young girls hanging from the tree were too abject and disturbing. Many would have been happy to see the two policemen and the other two rapists too hanging from the tree. That would have been poetic justice. The policemen who refuse to register rape FIR’s should be dismissed forthwith. Better, they should be horsewhipped in public. Khap panchayats, village elders, tribal courts all pass gruesome sentences against women accused of adultery, intercaste marriage, witchcraft and mete out sentences which range from being gang raped, paraded naked, head tonsured and other defiling acts. These same panchayats should pass quick sentences against rapists in their kangaroo courts and mete out punishments like castration, amputation, torture and then lynching in public. A gory act deserves gory punishment. Only then will it be a deterrent. The family members of the two girls of Badaun want a public hanging of the five accused, four of whom have already confessed their crime. The want the same fate for the rapists that befell their daughters. The country’s new Prime Minister had said all along in his campaign trial that he would take steps to ensure that women are safe, particularly in rural India. By his recent wish list, according to the 10-point agenda released last week, there is no specific proposals to tackle the problem, suggests that gender inequality doesn’t appear to be high on his list of priorities. This should be a wake-up call Mr. Narendra Modi. The nation waits and watches.

Deepak Kumar Rath

Deepak Kumar Rath

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