The article “Atrocities that no longer shock” (Oct. 15) reminded me of one of the premises in Derrick Jensen’s book Endgame, which helps us see that the very culture or modern civilisation we are proud of is based on violence against the natural world, against women and the less privileged or the most vulnerable. The premise is: “Civilization is based on clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.”
Kalpana Kannabiran’s heart rending narration of the gruesome massacre of Dalits in Bihar, and the rank indifference at all levels of the administration in handling the case was a grim reminder of the pattern found in all cases involving the oppression of people belonging to the lowest strata. The mainstream media owes an answer on why and how the nation’s conscience is not shaken by such disturbing crimes or the acquittal of those convicted for them. The neo-liberal cultural orientation has only helped sharpen social divisions. Age-old discrimination continues to reflect in the social space. The need of the hour is committed and consistent work by progressive forces.
That 58 people were killed in the most gruesome manner and not one accused has been convicted is unbelievable. Thousands came to the streets for a candle light march when a young woman from Delhi was gang raped and killed. But the killing of Dalits in Laxmanpur-Bathe and the Patna High Court’s recent acquittal of all those convicted by a lower court do not seem to have moved civil society and the media. How can we blame the marginalised sections for joining the ranks of extremists when they find they get no justice from the state?
Dayama Harish Kumar,
I do not understand why this matter is not in media focus. We have gone back to the point from where we started our journey towards development. Laxmanpur-Bathe is a shameful incident that highlights the failure of our system. As for the media, it was busy covering the retirement of god from cricket.
The Patna High Court’s verdict has caused grave injustice to not only the families of those killed but also society at large. But courts can punish the accused only if foolproof evidence is produced by investigators and the charges are proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt. It suits everyone in the system to approach the Supreme Court and wait for the final verdict.
It may not be advantageous to push for the conviction of the accused solely for political compulsions and because the offence was brutal or on other assumptions. The law department must scrutinise the High Court judgment on the touchstone of consistency of evidence and application of law. Instead of rushing to appeal, the state can order a reinvestigation, if necessary.