Protesters against Delhi rape [Photo courtesy: The Hindu]
The remark by Smt. Sushma Swaraj, the Leader of Opposition of the Lok Sabha yesterday afternoon that the rapists must be hanged is unfortunate, and indeed dangerous.
Rape is a hate crime, and the law as represented by the blindfolded goddess of justice cannot and must not differentiate between one kind of hate crimes from another.
Hate crimes are gender neutral. They are not the monopoly of men only. An erstwhile party colleague of Smt. Swaraj, a former MLA and an eminent gynaecologist in Gujarat, has been jailed for committing hate crimes that resulted into the gruesome massacre of 95 people in Naroda Patia in 2002.
Again, just 2 days back, a lady by the name Erica Menendez pushed an Indian on to the railway tracks in New York to kill him because she hated a Muslim or a Hindu.
And there are more…many more as history would tell us.
Capital punishment, to my understanding, cannot be case-specific as indeed no law should be. There are talks of tougher laws to tackle sexual harassment. This is welcome, but what is important is taking steps that have the potential to change the attitude of the people.
It surprises me that very few people are speaking about the women’s reservation bill. This is a good chance to pass the bill in the parliament at the earliest. We urgently need more and more women political leaders.
There should also be judicial reforms…which are long overdue. Abhishek Singhvi, Congress MP and an eminent lawyer, in his column in ToI titled The Denial Of Justice, very nicely articulated how the 3.5 crore pending court cases could be made to ‘collapse like a house of cards’ in just 5 years.
And then there must be police reforms. Police are humans like the rest of us. Their working conditions must be improved and they must be adequately trained and motivated so that they feel proud, happy, and responsible for the protection of people’s lives and properties.
These are the actual steps that need to be highlighted and pursued vigorously…not a stray remark that does no good to the lives of ordinary citizens of the country.