Death for the four accused in the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old in Delhi is a step towards deterring brutal assault on women. Men will henceforth stop presuming that the victim will not report the case. While taking comfort from the fact that the trial was completed in nine months, let us not forget that thousands of women have been waiting for justice for years. More fast track courts for rape cases are the need of the hour.
The December 16 horror was not just any rape case. The young woman was repeatedly raped in a running bus with windows closed, pierced with an iron rod, thrown out naked and bleeding, left to die on the wayside. This was not merely the “rarest of the rare” but the “cruellest of cruel” cases of rape and murder. The court verdict is welcome.
It has been proved time and again that the death penalty is no deterrent. The 23-year-old’s case could have been a historic moment for our justice system to show the world that however painful a situation, we, as a civilised modern society, do not justify savagery by the state in the name of justice. Sadly, in a mood of revenge, collective pain, shame and guilt, we lost the opportunity.
The clamour for death penalty for heinous crimes is understandable. But the clamour is not just a yearning for speedy justice; it reflects society’s thirst for revenge. Herein lies the real danger. Thanks to the monumental outpourings since December, the gang rape case was truly fast tracked without compromising on sound legal procedures. Are we going to demand the same alacrity in all such heinous crimes against women and children? How about justice for those raped by state actors?
What was a matter of speculation is now official. Narendra Modi, poster boy of Hindutva forces, is the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 election. The party has overruled its tallest leader’s objections on the timing of the announcement. From now on, the RSS will openly set the aggressive Hindutva agenda with Mr. Modi only too willing to obey the aadesh, and polarise the nation on religious lines for electoral gains.
New water replacing old water is the rule of nature and the same applies to an organisation. It is the responsibility of seniors to encourage and guide youngsters to ensure that the organisation survives forever. L.K. Advani should honour his party’s mood and support Mr. Modi.
Bhanamma Aravinda Bai,
Mr. Advani’s opposition to his own protégé does not speak well of the senior statesman. People and the BJP want a young, bold and dynamic person at the helm. Mr. Advani built the party from scratch and should not be seen as the destroyer of his own legacy. He should make way for younger leadership.
I don’t understand the BJP’s haste in naming Mr. Modi as its prime ministerial candidate. In fact, the party has played into the hands of the Opposition by announcing his name. The move can backfire.
The cacophony over immediately anointing Mr. Modi doesn’t appear to have been spontaneous; it was a well planned and orchestrated move by the pro-Modi group to scuttle any possible challenge to him. The treatment meted out to Mr. Advani and the pressure on other senior leaders to toe the line of the Modi supporters do not auger well for the party. Mr. Advani did not ask the party to declare him the prime ministerial candidate. He only advised his party not to be in a hurry to declare Mr. Modi the candidate till the conclusion of the Assembly elections. The senior leader knows that Mr. Modi can act as a polarising force which will be detrimental to the party's prospects.
By reposing faith in a deeply polarising figure like Mr. Modi, the BJP has done incalculable harm to secularism. The party will pay a heavy price for ignoring senior leaders who have worked for its development. Mr. Modi’s coronation will give the UPA the much-needed ammunition.
J. Anantha Padmanabhan,
Keywords: Delhi gangrape verdict