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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Delhi gang-rape; Pondy acid attack ~ India's acts of shame

It is pain to read; anguish gushes out; helplessness comes out brazenly…… but the real tragedy, when we read of the news  of young woman lying  in a Delhi hospital bed battling for her life after being brutally beaten and gang-raped Sunday night, is : in six months or less, she will have been forgotten.  This girl and another one Vinodhini of Pondy are heart-rendering stories ~ which any civilized Society should ensure would never get repeated.

There is no point in telling that in a civilized society, one should reform criminals; first hand over the perpetrators the highest punishment – some advocate capital punishment; put them to solitary confinement; Outcast them and make them repent for rest of their life; take away their property – there should be no place for animals in any society.  

Sadly, with the passage of time or with another crime, focus will shift – absolute nothing would have changed.  Ever since Sunday’s savage crime, India’s political leadership has been loudly engaged in what it appears to believe is advocacy of women’s rights — in the main, dramatic but meaningless calls for summary trials, castration and mandatory death penalties.  Once the din dies, nothing would have been done to address the problem.  No legal  reforms; no action, no expert post-trauma support – nothing happens.

There is public outrage ~ most of us feel the need for doing something – but when left unchannelised, we would soon start seeing a cinema, speak of a soap opera, write about a cricket match or simply do nothing.  The Delhi victim is not alone; nor is the Capital the worst part of the Country – the hideous gang-rape is part of violence that  millions of Indian women face every single day.  Sad all this happening in a Country which was once famous for its moral values and ethics.   Brutally gang-raped by four persons in a moving bus in south Delhi on Sunday night, a 23-year-old woman is now battling for life at the Safdarjung Hospital here. The girl’s male friend was also assaulted, stripped and then thrown off the bus along with her near the Mahipalpur flyover in south-west Delhi.  The Police have rounded up six persons on suspicion of their involvement, they have impounded a bus from Noida suspecting it to be the one in which the crime was committed.

The case of J Vinodhini was far worse; might not have received such a National outage.  She hailed from a poor family, whose parents  sold their small plot of ancestral property to finance her B.Tech in an Engg college in Karaikal, in Puducherry.  Her father worked as a watchman; she completed her education, was the ray of hope for all her family – got a job pursuing her dreams in a private company in Chennai…………………… sadly, all dreams were shattered on that fateful day in Nov 14  when Vinodhini suffered an acid attack by a spurned suitor that has left her blind in both her eyes.  The accused has been identified as Suresh Kumar, alias Appu, 32, an engineering diploma holder who runs a business renting out concrete mixer machine. Kumar had reportedly expressed an interest in Vinodhini, after which she had informed her parents.  The victim’s father had even  complained to the local police, who summoned Kumar and issued a warning. He was made to give a written assurance that he would not trouble Vinodhini.  On that day, when she had gone home for Deepavali, the accused reportedly threw acid on her. Vinodhini suffered 40 per cent burns in the acid attack, including injuries to her face, chest and hand. Both her eyes were severely damaged. Jayapal and Padmanabhan were also injured in the attack. Kumar himself suffered 10 per cent burn injuries.

Vinodhini was rushed to a local hospital, from where she was later shifted to JIPMER hospital. From there, she was referred to the Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital in Chennai for specialised treatment. While her condition is now stable, both her eyes have been irreparably damaged. Thanks to some philanthropists, she had been shifted to another private hospital. The accused has been arrested and case registered for attempt to murder (Section 307 IPC) and causing grievous hurt (Sec 326). There is a strong case against him to secure the maximum punishment of 10 years” – but will Vinodhini ever be able to enjoy her rightful dreams ?

These 2 are not isolated incidents; nor is there any guarantee that such crimes will stop. These are not Law & Order issue; nor to do with Geography or with the rule of any political party !

People may shout from rooftops on gender equality, more freedom, power and influence for women, that too in every aspect of public life: politics, police, administration, education, health, judiciary… and more importantly, in decision-making roles.  But can any Society allow such victims to remain in silence and suffer.  No point in simply organizing candle rallies or writing about this; the civil Society should hang its head in shame, think, devise and implement some strong measure to ensure that these do not happen to any other unfortunate person.  

We need to move beyond shock and outrage and act. Next time, when you cheer an unruly group of lumpen men led by the macho hero collectively leching an item-girl on screen, don’t forget that you are encouraging a culture of sexual objectification and domination over women.  We all have in someway been contributing least indirectly fostering violence against women. There is no right place or time in our Mahaan Bharat  where the mind of the criminal is without fear and his head held high. Shun Cinema, newspaper, TV Advt and all other activities where women’s modesty is outraged.

In Nov 2010, the State was shocked with the ghastly abduction, sexual assault and murder murder of ten-year-old girl and her seven-year-old brother, reportedly by a former school van driver.  The prime accused in that case was shot dead in an encounter in a few days.  City Police Commissioner reported that  the police opened fire to prevent the accused from killing the police personnel and to foil his attempt to escape from custody. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
19th Dec 2012.


  1. Sad to read of the event ~ the perpetrators deserve animal treatment, kill them - Yahuru

  2. Spill their blood and let it be a lesson for others - Kusuru