The gang rape of a young photojournalist in Mumbai highlights the need to have a fixed time limit to conclude the trial of the perpetrators. The priority must be on having daily hearings.

Also, in such cases, the age of the perpetrators is merely a number. In the case of such grave crimes, these artificial distinctions must be abolished because of the propensity to help them escape the law. I refer to the report “Who knows what he is capable of doing, says mother of rape accused” (Aug.25), where one of the accused is said to be a minor, and his grandmother is shown with his birth certificate — it is pointless.

An equally depressing report was “Robbers gang-rape Jharkhand cop” (Aug.25).

India urgently requires strong laws. What is ironic is that while our elected lawmakers recently came together to circumvent the recent Supreme Court judgment debarring arrested persons from standing in elections, they do nothing when it comes to protecting women.

Last but not least, the victim in Mumbai needs to be congratulated for being brave and not hushing up the incident.

Kutub Shamshudin A.,

Chennai

If anti-social elements are having a free run across the country, it is because the element of fear in our criminal judicial system has faded away. There is also the long time taken to investigate the framing of charges, a trial, examination of witnesses and a final verdict. Such heinous crimes must be tried separately. If necessary, there must be a separate judicial branch to deal only with such cases.

There is also the point of the age of the perpetrator. The question before every one is that when a juvenile under 18 years of age is capable of indulging in crimes such as rape and murder, why on earth must he be protected under the Juvenile Justice Act? Though the apex court has relied on the reports of Crime Records Bureau that the number of crimes committed by juveniles is only about two per cent of the country’s crime rate, it can’t be the basis to come to the conclusion since a number of crimes committed by minors in rural areas are not reported or properly indexed.

With the widespread misuse these days of mobile phones, there is also the factor of temptation that cannot be ruled out.

Hence, in view of the changing times, the apex court’s verdict on juveniles should be reviewed.

S. Nallasivan,

Tirunelveli

The impact of the media is a factor. There are leading dailies that spend pages analysing the reasons for increasing assault on women yet which do not think twice about publishing advertisements for clothing in a way that demeans women. Yes, Bollywood is for entertainment, but in the name of artistic freedom and liberty of thought, vulgar scenes and dialogues cannot be passed by the Censor Board or defended by the elite.

Mahesh Kumar,

New Delhi

It is disturbing that most of the perpetrators, who live in slums, are from that section of society which is deprived of almost all basic social needs. This shows that we are just not paying the same amount of attention to them as we do with those who are more fortunate. As so many youngsters live a life exposed to constant crime, their values are bound to be shaped in the same manner. Those brought up with a lack of morality and accountability towards society are more vulnerable to social evils.

The police in all our cities must explore the possibility of starting police and community youth clubs in areas such as slums which aim to get young people there active in life, develop skills, character and leadership and prevent and reduce crime by and against young people. It also includes exposure to playing a sport. Perhaps, the chiefs of police forces in countries that have such a concept — example, the U.S. and Australia — may be able to offer us suggestions.

Yogeshwar N. Tompe,

Degloor

What a bold woman! Braving the trampling of her honour and dignity by a couple of beasts, to standing up to the frightful tragedy and resolving to teach a lesson to the barbarians, come what may from her hospital bed, shows her grit and determination. Every one thought that after widespread public ire following the Delhi incident, those thinking of committing such acts would think twice before attempting something heinous. How wrong we are. Let the Mumbai journalist’s fight not be in vain and get lost in judicial wrangling, legal nuances and niceties. Finally, we do not want sermons from politicians who will definitely be insensitive and crude.

Sivamani Vasudevan,

Chennai

In every city, youngsters, theatre groups and social activists should have street plays and workshops in schools, colleges and workplaces to educate women on how to protect themselves when in a crisis. Self-help is the best help

Josephine Joseph,

Bangalore

Why were the photojournalist and her colleague allowed to go to such a place at such an hour? What about the responsibility of her employer? We need answers to these questions as well.

S. Parthasarathy,

Chennai

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