The Judicial system of India is constructed in such a way that it is free from any political or constitutional pressure. The one organ of the government which is truly and absolutely in the service of the people, it is one of the key reasons why every citizen is an equal being in our country. But there are trials which do not take place inside the courtrooms, where both sides do not get equal representation.
Rape for Justice or Rape for Revenge?
A minor girl in Bokaro, Jharkhand was raped on the orders of the village Panchayat by a 25 year old man. Her fault was that her brother, allegedly, assaulted the rapist’s sister. No one objected or even raised their voices as she was dragged from her house to a nearby forest where she was assaulted. Her own mother, after pleadings which led to nowhere, meekly allowed for her daughter to be dragged away and raped.
This blatant abuse of power to do something as inhumane as this sent waves of outrage throughout the nation. The village headman and the accused have been taken into custody, but how many cases like this are lurking in the orthodoxy of the rural society, girls who’ve not been brought to justice?
The headman was not even appointed by the lawful methods of appointment of Local Bodies. He was self appointed, and his word was law. According to NDTV, locals said almost all the villagers saw that girl being dragged to the woods, and not a single one of them is willing to testify. It’s common knowledge that without witnesses, the accused can walk free, so much for justice.
Kangaroo Courts in the Panchayati Raj
Local Government like the Panchayat were created and given the power to use government money and pass judgments because it was believed local leaders understand the needs and grievances of local people the best. While examples of the panchayat using their power to perform or support heinous acts like rape and murder isn’t new, one thinks about why we fall into an ignorant snooze, waking up only momentarily when the next barbaric act makes it to the news.
Rape Culture: What Have We Done to Break Free from it?
There continue to be endless cases of rape and violence against women, the most recent ones being the rape and murder of two teenage girls in Uttar Pradesh, May 27. In Jharkhand itself, there has been a surge of rape cases being reported, a girl in Koderma committing suicide because she was being forced to drop the charges against her violator and marry him instead; a five year old girl sexually assaulted and strangulated to death; a 19 year old girl raped and killed a week before her wedding, the list goes on and on.
The Delhi rape case made people aware of exactly how much danger women are living in this society with. Protests, rebellions, strikes, demonstrations, every constitutional right was made use of. People succeeded, laws were passed. We vowed to be stricter towards rape, more stringent rules were made. But has changing the definition of rape, making it wider and adding stalking and voyeurism as a part if sexual harassment too, helped prevent the actual act from happening, or helped the women in remote and underdeveloped areas at all?
In conclusion, I’d like to point out that the rape of these minors, all of these are distinct examples for people who justify rape as something that the woman deserved, her fault because she was wearing provoking clothes or smoking, because she attended school or ate chowmein. The minor raped in Jharkhand was subjected to that not to bring another girl to justice, rather than to erase the spots from the “honor” of the girl’s family. Thus being proved as a gigantic irony to the concept of justice, it makes me wonder how many more minors have to be violated before a such a rape law is passed which helps women before they are raped and during the hellish ordeal of bringing their wrongdoers to justice.
Swami Vivekananda had said, “Can you better the condition of your women? Then there will be hope for your well-being. Otherwise you will remain as backward as you are now.” If what he said is taken to be as the truth, India is still trapped in the trenches of backwardness, with a long way to go for any hopes of development.