|Nirbhaya gang rape case convicts (clockwise from top left) Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh. (File Photo | PTI)
‘Fresh’ death warrants have been issued for the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. Yet another date has been set aside in February for serving them. The Supreme Court has called it the ‘the rarest of rare, most brutal, barbaric and diabolical attack’ on a young paramedical student who stepped into a bus with a friend and lost her life but not before she was brutally assaulted in inhuman ways. Seven years later, her aggressors face the hangman. They have been awaiting the gallows for a while now even as their lawyers keep dipping into a seemingly inexhaustible bag of tricks, filing innumerable appeals, pleas for mercy, claims of minority, etc. Incidentally, of the six convicted, Ram Singh allegedly killed himself in Tihar jail while another was a juvenile who was sentenced by the court in its infinite wisdom to serve three years in a reform home.
A great majority are baying for blood. These are mostly the same folks who cheered the ‘encounter killing’ of the four alleged perpetrators in the recent and horrifying Hyderabad case where a vet was abducted, gang raped and burnt to death, never mind that the same cops had been grossly negligent in response to the frantic attempts made by her parents to find her and had failed to initiate search and rescue operations.The logic behind the bloodlust regarding the Nirbhaya case, of course is that such a move will deter future rapists and murderers while also providing justice for the victim and closure for her loved ones as well as a nation that had its jaded conscience painfully awakened. But knee – jerk responses aside, is hanging really the ideal solution?
Questions on the morality of state sponsored killing aside, is the death penalty truly going to put the fear of God or the Devil in potential rapists and scumbags? Will the world be magically transformed into a safer place where women won’t be groped, molested, raped or murdered with impunity? Will the victims in the Nirbhaya, Kathua, Unnao and countless other heinous cases get their lives back? Will a majority of the boys pay attention in moral science class and not grow up to be boors, jerks and lechers who think they are better than women simply because they can stand up and pee? Will society finally acknowledge that women are not the inferior sex and treat them accordingly without being collectively guilty of female infanticide, dowry harassment and acid throwing? The answer unfortunately is a resounding ‘NO!’ to all of the above.
As taxpaying citizens, we expect the government to prevent crime by having cops patrol the streets, responding immediately to emergencies, making the public transport system less of a shambles and if the worst were to happen, act quickly to nab offenders and bring them to task instead of allowing cases to languish for the rest of time. Having failed on all these counts, the government imposition of the death sentence rather like Ranveer Singh in a masala movie is a cruel joke. This is a broken system and by supporting its more farcical measures, we kid ourselves into thinking that we are doing the right thing. But all said and done, the Nirbhaya case is that rarest of rare cases that merits the death penalty. The government should just quit dithering, do the deed and make sure that such evil is never inflicted upon anyone else.
This article was originally published in The New Indian Express.