Union Minister Shashi Tharoor’s suggestion of naming the revised anti-rape law after the Delhi bus gangrape braveheart has stirred a big debate. And, human rights activists and thinking celebrities have strong, divided views on the matter.
“I support S Tharoor on naming new law on rape after her real name or ‘Nirbyaya’! This has been done in USA: Brady, Megan, Karly, Jessica Law etc. In naming law after Nirbhaya/or real name v immortalise her will to fight and live, not on d act of rape! This way we may remove d stigma! (sic)” tweeted top cop-turned activist Kiran Bedi. Lyricist-activist Javed Akhtar says, “I believe that hiding a rape survivor 's name is based on an unacceptable archaic belief that she has lost her “izzat”. I do agree that revealing or hiding the identity of any rape survivor can only be her or her family’s call. But some are misunderstanding Shashi Tharoor. He has shown utmost respect towards a girl who deserves it. Why keep her anonymous?”
Others too, say whatever is to be done must only be done after her parents’ will is sought, and at the time of going to press, the girl’s kin said it would indeed be an honour to name the reformed law after her (see box).
“At one level, giving out her name makes sense, but at the same time we should not rule out the privacy factor. The final decision lies with the parents,” says Sonali Khan of BreakThrough, a human rights organisation. Actor Manoj Bajpayee echoes the sentiment: “Everything should be done in consultation with her parents.”
Vicky Donor actor Ayushmann Khurana is, however, against the move. “I don't want to know her name. Her anonymity in a way has given a certain push to the revolution, as everybody has got connected to the atrocity. No name means it could’ve been anyone of us. And, the effectiveness of the law is more important than the name.”
Hiding a rape survivor's name is based on an unacceptable archaic belief that she has lost her “izzat”. Revealing the identity can only be her or her family's call - Javed Akhtar, lyricist
I don’t want to know her name. No name means it could’ve been anyone of us. The effectiveness of the law is more important than the name - Ayushmann Khurana, actor
Avtar Gill, Rakesh Bedi, Javed Akhtar and Anupam Kher during the prayer meet. (Photo: PTI)