This August, after Independence Day in the 61st year of our Republic, the Delhi High Court awarded life terms to Harpreet and Satyender - the irony of those names — the two soldiers of the President’s Bodyguard who raped a 17-year-old college girl in Buddha Jayanti Park in October 2003.
To quote from a news report: “They were military men in uniform and in broad day-light committed rape of a young girl, who was completely helpless before them. They have exhibited moral turpitude of extreme depravity by subjecting the teenage prosecutrix to rape and making her a victim of their physical lust,” the court said, sentencing Harpreet
Singh and Satyender Singh to life sentence. “Both of them are more than six feet tall and well built. Instead of defending and protecting the public, they have committed an offence which does not deserve any soft or lenient approach. Their sentences under section 376 (2)(g) are confirmed,” the court said.”
Justice delayed is considered justice denied and Indian women must settle for “punishment, at last” much as the “good husband” is defined as one who does NOT beat his wife.
Instead of inculcating restraint, it is regrettable that the male establishment is known to frequently close ranks to defend ‘a brother’.
It is common on Indian trains that a groper touches a sleeping woman and she screams aloud. The groper’s friends rush to minimise his crime with, “It wasn’t his hand, his foot touched you by mistake.”
They do not slap him hard instead for disgracing their collective honour and make him touch the woman’s feet to ask pardon.
To rape and kill a woman did not deserve a death sentence according to the judgment in July 2009, in the case of 59-year-old Dawn Emilie Griggs, a trusting tourist who landed in Delhi in 2004 and took a pre-paid taxi from Palam airport.
Her body was found in a deserted field, raped, throttled and stabbed with a screwdriver by the two men in the taxi.
Our system had the opportunity to send out a strong signal to our society that rakshasas can’t run free in India, that we are a zero-tolerance society for such crimes.
Though our religion teaches respect for the Goddess, our culture teaches neither respect nor moral gallantry towards women.
From within this chasm, must Indian women sing “De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine; Domine, exaudi vocem meam,” From the depths, I have cried out to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.”?
Renuka Narayanan writes on religion and culture