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April 15, 2019 |

Crime and punishment

The shocking and abominable case of a girl who allegedly committed suicide after being raped by her father has opened a can of worms. The outrage it has caused doesn’t need to be underscored, and after some days or weeks perhaps it will diminish, and leave behind the disturbing questions that need answers. To begin with, are mere condemnations, even if echoed in the strongest and most piercing words, enough as public reaction to an unthinkably horrible crime? It may not be easy to answer, as in a system where established law and its mechanism takes over, there is little in the hands of the public. Usually, cumulative pressure applied by the society, the community and the people of the state leaves little room for institutions like police and judiciary to act otherwise. However, in the past two equally horrendous crimes – Kathua and Uri rape and murder cases – we have seen how the guttural cries and condemnations slowly died down. Today, people generally seem to be least interested in any report about the progress of these cases. When the cry for justice reached its summit in the days after these crimes were reported, people called for street justice – hang the culprits by the neck in front of the people to make it exemplary. Though crude justice and crude law it may sound, it is not without its demerits. For one it is quick, and for two it is decisive. As soon as the established legal system of the state takes over time becomes dispensable and indecision is its hallmark. To ensure that justice is just, there are situations when the state comes up with special courts. At least to make the trial and proceedings be conducted in a swift manner, these courts have some merits. All these concerns revolve around only one idea – how long should it take to find the guilty and punish him?  If we go by the example of rapes in Kunan and Poshpora villages, there are people who would say that justice in all these cases is an illusion. The other question that needs an answer, which is rather a problem for the whole society, is how we can stop these brutal crimes here. There are numerous views with people suggesting from the street justice to social ostracization, whether they are workable or not is doubtable. In the socio-cultural complex in which we exist, there are too many obstacles in the form of taboos that encourage the criminals. A matter like sexual exploitation is hushed up, which emboldens the criminals to not only escape the trial but also repeat the crime. Fear factor in an important concept in criminal justice systems. The irony is that here the victim fears instead of the criminal in an act of crime.                           

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April 15, 2019 |

Crime and punishment

              

The shocking and abominable case of a girl who allegedly committed suicide after being raped by her father has opened a can of worms. The outrage it has caused doesn’t need to be underscored, and after some days or weeks perhaps it will diminish, and leave behind the disturbing questions that need answers. To begin with, are mere condemnations, even if echoed in the strongest and most piercing words, enough as public reaction to an unthinkably horrible crime? It may not be easy to answer, as in a system where established law and its mechanism takes over, there is little in the hands of the public. Usually, cumulative pressure applied by the society, the community and the people of the state leaves little room for institutions like police and judiciary to act otherwise. However, in the past two equally horrendous crimes – Kathua and Uri rape and murder cases – we have seen how the guttural cries and condemnations slowly died down. Today, people generally seem to be least interested in any report about the progress of these cases. When the cry for justice reached its summit in the days after these crimes were reported, people called for street justice – hang the culprits by the neck in front of the people to make it exemplary. Though crude justice and crude law it may sound, it is not without its demerits. For one it is quick, and for two it is decisive. As soon as the established legal system of the state takes over time becomes dispensable and indecision is its hallmark. To ensure that justice is just, there are situations when the state comes up with special courts. At least to make the trial and proceedings be conducted in a swift manner, these courts have some merits. All these concerns revolve around only one idea – how long should it take to find the guilty and punish him?  If we go by the example of rapes in Kunan and Poshpora villages, there are people who would say that justice in all these cases is an illusion. The other question that needs an answer, which is rather a problem for the whole society, is how we can stop these brutal crimes here. There are numerous views with people suggesting from the street justice to social ostracization, whether they are workable or not is doubtable. In the socio-cultural complex in which we exist, there are too many obstacles in the form of taboos that encourage the criminals. A matter like sexual exploitation is hushed up, which emboldens the criminals to not only escape the trial but also repeat the crime. Fear factor in an important concept in criminal justice systems. The irony is that here the victim fears instead of the criminal in an act of crime.                           

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