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Updated: August 28, 2011 12:38 IST

Arresting crime against women: key role for press

S. Viswanathan
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S. Viswanathan
The Hindu
S. Viswanathan

When the Mumbai police finally cracked the daylight murder of investigative journalist Jyotirmoy Dey and arrested seven persons contracted by the long-absconding underworld gangster, Chotta Rajan, thousands of readers were still restless over the delay in discovering the motive behind the ghastly crime. Many readers of this newspaper, who expressed solidarity through their mails, attributed the breakthrough to the relentless pressure from journalists and the spontaneous support of the public, who were outraged at the brutality involved. While one reader wrote that the police must go beyond arresting the alleged assailants and wipe out “the entire crime syndicate responsible for the murder,” another reader expressed the view that “the dismantling of the underworld is equally important.” Yet another feared that “the main killers may never be apprehended” and advised the journalists and whistle-blowers to exercise the utmost vigil, especially when they deal with “the underworld and political corruption.”

One could only hope that investigation and prosecution reach a speedy and successful conclusion. Even as this process proceeds, the State government would do well to honour its own word and put in place effective protection for journalists against their adversaries.

Rising trend in crime against women

Meanwhile, several incidents of violence targeting mostly the deprived sections of the people in different parts of the country are disturbing and disheartening. Growing violence against women is a cause for great concern.

Five recent incidents of violence have been reported in Uttar Pradesh within a couple of days in mid-June. In Kanauj district, a minor Dalit girl was assaulted by two young men in an attempt to molest her; when she resisted, the girl was stabbed repeatedly in her eyes. Doctors said later that the cornea of her left eye had been totally damaged and the chances of restoring her vision were ruled out. In another incident in Basti district, a Dalit girl was reportedly raped. A day later, a 35-year-old woman with two children was raped, allegedly by a gang of three in Etah district. The same day, in Gonda district, the body of a Dalit girl was found in a field. Three persons were said to be involved in the crime and the police did not rule out rape. In another incident in Firozabad district, a girl aged 15 was reportedly raped.

In Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh, a minor girl was reported to have been sexually assaulted and burnt on June 29 by a pastor. The girl died of severe burns at a hospital. The pastor was taken into custody.

In Tamil Nadu, P. Krishnaveni, president of the Thalayuthu village panchayat in Tirunelveli district, was brutally attacked by a gang a few weeks ago. Admitted in hospital with nine stab injuries, the Dalit panchayat chief is recovering. A fact-finding body that visited the victim and the village under her control said that the panchayat president faced discrimination from the day she took charge nearly five years ago. She was not even allowed to sit in the chair allotted to her in her office. Repeated complaints to authorities from the panchayat chief, the fact-finding body said, were of no avail.

Poor conviction rate

These crimes against women happened in three States and were reported by the news media in a short span of about two weeks. It is not as though most other States are free from such violence against women. About two lakh cases of violence have been registered by the National Crime Records Bureau, according to its recent data.

It is well known that discriminatory and oppressive social attitudes, not to mention plain greed and corruption, infect the attitude of the authorities, and especially the police, in many cases when serious complaints go uninvestigated or are poorly investigated. Only when investigation is free, fair, and speedy and only when the conviction rate improves in cases where women are the targets of various forms of violence can crimes against women be brought down. The press has a key role to play in working against any cover-up in this area.

readerseditor@thehindu.co.in

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It is disheartening to know that not only such crimes are on the rise but also that the depravity in some of these crimes seems to indicate a lack of fear amongst the perpetrators. It is well known that there are many laws passed with very good intentions but what is pulling the offenders back towards such acts seems to be poor or no implementation of these.Agreed, that the principle of natural justice demands even if 100 perpetrators go free one innocent person should not be punished and hence the rigmarole of the processes of law which results in justice being delayed at the least if not denied in toto. Another consequence of this is the encouragement that potential perpetrators get from such travesty of justice.One idea is for respectable publications such as yours publishing the photos and personal details of such offenders after of course verifying the facts to prevent such persons from getting away with the crime and living a life of respectability in the eyes of society.

from:  P.Sukumar
Posted on: Aug 25, 2011 at 10:14 IST

Our society is facing the horror of crime because we are not having a strong judicial system. Criminals are not afraid of doing crimes because they know they are not going to be punished for their deed. It takes a lot of time for any case to have final decision by that time the effect of punishment on the culprits is meagre. Almost in all such cases local people know very well who the culprits are, then also it takes long time for the court to give decision. When the case is plain and simple, why the judiciary taking a long time for giving decision? We should develop a mechanism for such cases for delivering the judgment in one day itself.

from:  Ram Kumar Singh
Posted on: Jul 13, 2011 at 17:26 IST

I concur with the view that atrocity against women, a fellow being, shows utter lack of deficiency in civilian behaviour. No leniency should be shown to the people who indulge in it and no mercy either. Higher authorities, be they police, political or social, should treat them as unfit to be in society as a whole. If our country continues to be soft towards them, we take centuries to reform ourselves. As in developed countries, let the courts award prison sentence for several decades to the proven cases. Such crimes will vanish.

from:  M.B.Bhatt
Posted on: Jul 6, 2011 at 21:45 IST

Women,girl child are second grade citizens. They are weak economically, educationally, physically etc. How this discrimination can be eradicated? Give good education to them.... All the problems will be solved. Population control will be easy. An educated lady in a family is an asset not only to the family as well to society. Giving financial power to them through property rights... these vows can be eradicated.

from:  A.Natarajan
Posted on: Jul 6, 2011 at 16:25 IST

The fact that perpetrators of crime against women almost always go scot free is perhaps the worst kept secrets of our society. If rape victims did not get ostracized by the society, they would definitely come forward to complaint against their tormentors.(Of course many women now take the initiative to come forward and make a complaint against sexual assault but more often than less they don't, especially in rural areas).The author rightly says that crime against women has to be taken up by the media. It should become a mainstream issue. At the same time the investigation authorities should make sure that every man who commits rape or any kind of sexual assault should be punished severely.

from:  kelly
Posted on: Jul 5, 2011 at 23:57 IST
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