Death sentence has been awarded to the four convicts responsible for the rape and murder of a young girl in Delhi last December whereas fifth perpetrator- the juvenile has to spend three years in a correctional facility. The sixth offender had hanged himself earlier this year.
Death row prisoners take up more of the taxpayers’ money than the life sentence cases, but as death penalty is awarded only in the “rarest of the rare” circumstances, they form a very small percentage of the total number of cases. Also, due to fast-tracking the cases, sentence is awarded in a matter of months and not years.
There is also a question of guilt of the convicts but forensic evidence proved beyond doubt that these men were at the scene of the crime. Here, the bite-marks, the blood-stained rod, CCTV recordings, mobile phone records were some of the damning evidences against them. I personally do not doubt their guilt. However, even if there is a small margin of error, they can appeal, even apply for President’s mercy.
Death penalty is inhumane but what about the inhumane acts these people performed on those two victims? They were left naked and semi-conscious in biting cold on the side of a street, not to add that the girl also had her intestines pulled out of her body. What kind of a deplorable human being does that? These 6 people had petty charges against them. They had robbed a daily labourer on that very bus. They were not small children who did not know the difference between right and wrong; they just thought that since only about 24% of rape victims ever get justice, they could be in the rest 76%, and that they could get away with it. The intent to commit crime was there.
One thing to be noted here is that they were not sentenced to death for the rape, but the murder. The victim died 13 days after her ordeal in a hospital in Singapore. She had been so battered that had she survived, she would never have lived a normal life.
No, I am not condoning the jubilation at their subsequent death that some people seem to be showing, I am not even condoning the death chants that seem to have been making rounds before their conviction. Media should not have sensationalised this case or any case for that matter. But as a citizen of India, I feel that there are no short term fixes to stop crimes against women. If death is not a deterrent, castration is inhuman; then what kind of punishment will stop it? Education, moral or otherwise, gender sensitisation are all long term solutions, however permanent. The studies that claim that death is not a preventive measure for rape, can they tell me what is? I haven’t really read those researches so I do not know what they really say but I am a “common man” and I am sick of reading about rape cases every day in the newspaper. One sip of tea, one rape/murder case. Somewhere an 80-year-old is robbed and raped, the other place a 15-year-old is raped and killed. So if death penalty is not enough to instil fear, tell me a viable solution and I will accept it, till then do hold your peace and let me have some solace in my own opinions.