Encountering outrage

Updated: Dec 08, 2019, 07:09 IST | Rahul da Cunha | Mumbai

(There have been other incidents which are perhaps as devastating, but just not high profile or horrendous enough to be more than a tiny footnote in a news report)

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Rahul da CunhaSo, I've watched Nirbhaya morph into Shakti Mills merge into Unnao which has culminated in the Telangana encounter.

From 2012 to 2019.

(There have been other incidents which are perhaps as devastating, but just not high profile or horrendous enough to be more than a tiny footnote in a news report).

But, these four tragedies are the touchstones for the odyssey that has been the ordeal of the Indian woman.

Perhaps these four are linked—in a way, the Telangana 'incident' is Nirbhaya coming full circle. The details are different, but the opposing arguments remain ditto.

The debate rages. On the one hand: "The law must take its course, we cannot take the law into our own hands, due process is important."

Versus...

"Congrats to the Hyderabad police, justice has finally been served, 'let's take up arms against the oppressor, that is the only way forward."

The armchair anger post Nirbhaya in 2012, sounds eerily similar to the outpouring I heard last night, post the 'encounter' killings.

Delhi went ballistic in 2012. There were tears shed, as the teargas was being dispersed.

But while the brutal men in the bus were sentenced to death, they're still very much alive. The brutal men in the truck may have had the 'good fortune', except the cops shot them.

(In a terrible coincidence, around the time the charred remains of the Telangana victim were found, the Unnao rape survivor was being burnt alive).
So, where am I headed with this column, dear reader?

The fact remains that despite 'fast tracking', rape cases still are awesomely slow in our India.

I've watched with amazement as other countries have passed stringent, often sadistic laws—public lynching and chemical castration have become a fear factor for rapists in these nations. I've watched the raging battle between the livid 'lyncher' and the liberal democrats gather momentum.

I have prayed that in at least one of these cases, the victims or their families receive some succour. But none has come.

In fact, the lack of any real conviction and easy bail opportunities have emboldened the accused, many of them returning to seek vengeance on the survivors.

Last night, the battle lines were further drawn. Except now the voices on either side were shriller. I sensed a desperate flailing. "Public outrage plus the Twitter Tribunal have forced the police to act," one person ranted.

"Vigilante justice is better than no justice," was the argument of many of our elected Parliamentarians.

But clearly that's not a long term situation for a non banana republic such as ours.

Here's my thing—find me a solution that will frighten the living daylights out of the potential rapist.

He's got to think twice before acting. At the present moment, he feels lawlessness is on his side.

If a solution isn't found soon, it will always be theoretical. 'Human rights violation versus Humans violated' argument. The armchair debates will continue while we wait for justice to be served.

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahul.dacunha @mid-day.com

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