It is better to be cautious than dead

Updated: Nov 29, 2019, 07:36 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

Reports about the assault detailed how the police said that the accused used to stalk the woman. He had even fixed a camera in the broken peephole of the door of her flat to record her activities, and had shot a few videos

Representation picture
Representation picture

For days now, this paper has been following a gruesome crime. A sweeper who was standing in for his father in a Jogeshwari building, raped a resident, after barging into her home.

Reports about the assault detailed how the police said that the accused used to stalk the woman. He had even fixed a camera in the broken peephole of the door of her flat to record her activities, and had shot a few videos.

On the day of the crime, he sent his grandmother who was also working in the building, home early. Housing societies may now have to pass rules and regulations that 'replacements' by regular staff, even if they are relatives, need to be carefully vetted by the committee.

Having said that, one does acknowledge that it is impossible for committees to foresee or fully know every individual or what they are going to do next. While the sexual assault is shocking in itself, it is the pattern that preceded it, revelations by the police about a camera to record videos are very disturbing.

The accused has been caught, reports say, and there will be an effort to ascertain his age, though the family claims he is 15. The punishment of course, must be in accordance with the crime committed but there must also be recognition of the fact that this person may be very dangerous.

It could prove to be the biggest mistake if he is let off without considering the overall picture — that this was a planned crime of intent. The pattern was devious and deadly, if the survivor had not shown presence of mind and locked the accused in the kitchen he may very well have killed her. Authorities must keep the overall picture in mind, not one isolated crime, when dealing with this stand-in sweeper.

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