Posts Tagged ‘Delhi Gangrape’

Why Newtown & New Delhi are joined at the hip

21 January 2013

SHAH ALAM KHAN writes from New Delhi: Billy is usually a cheerful, jovial man who rarely sounds solemn. That day he wasn’t his normal self on the phone. He was trying to come to terms with the death of a six-year-old daughter of a dear friend.

The girl was a class one grader, killed in cold blood at the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Newtown.

Barely 48 hours after the Newtown tragedy, another tragedy was unfolding more than ten thousand kilometers away in the heart of India’s capital. A 23-year-old physiotherapy intern was gang raped in a moving bus, assaulted barbarically and thrown out along with her male friend.

The two tragedies hardly had anything in common except the despair and frustration which common people like me and Billy had at the healthy, wholesome breeding of violent cultures in respective countries.

If a poor and porous gun control was blamed for the Newtown tragedy, a violent patriarchal system with objectification of women was considered responsible for the brutal Delhi gang rape. But simplifying the two tragedies on basis of common explanations would be looking at half the pictures in both countries.

Newtown did not occur first on the US soil. The seeds for the tragedy were sown across the globe.

Newtown first happened in Vietnam. Newtown happened in Baghdad and Newtown happened in each every corner of the globe where American imperialism laid siege in name of promoting democracy and freedom. Newtown was the culmination of a culture of violence, which American imperialist ambitions have planted in the hearts and thoughts of common Americans, both in the garb of nationalism and freedom.

Unfortunately, both at home and elsewhere, the victims of this culture were little children and innocent citizens.

If corporate aspirations govern the national agenda, Newtown is surely the end result.

Delhi gang rape too was the denouement of a spectrum of violent abuse of the weak, the underprivileged and the deprived. Unfortunately the female gender in India qualifies well for being all three- weak, underprivileged and deprived.

We, Indians have bred a “culture of rape”.

Again it won’t be wrong to conclude that the Delhi gang rape first took place in the tribal hamlets of rural India, in the homes of middle-class Indians who abort female fetuses, in Indian towns and cities, which see cyclic communal frenzy and in the frightened Dalit ghettos of vast stretches of this land. Rape is not an act of sexual abuse in India.

It represents the conclusion of a culture of violent suppression of the female gender- the weakest and the most vulnerable element in an exclusive society of the strong. What more can we expect from a society which can have the audacity of killing its unborn daughters?

The objectification of female gender in Bollywood cannot be entirely blamed for the rape culture we have so laboriously bred in this country. It only supplements this culture. It provides a weedy “justification” to the rapist. In a consumerist demand-supply situation the Bollywood feeds the society what it wants.

The ghastly events of Newtown and Delhi cannot be seen in isolation. They have similarities of cultural past. They do not represent isolated events of the frenzied mind. They are products of social orders supplemented by disproportionate and inconsistent national agendas.

The hallmark of the two tragedies is the ease to unleash violence on the vulnerable sections of the society.

(Shah Alam Khan is an orthopaedic surgeon at the nation’s premier medical college and hospital, the all Indian institute of medical sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. Visit his blog: India and Bharat)

Also read: Does our sanskriti sanction regressive MCPs?

Ramayana, Upanishads and the Delhi gangrape

Why Delhi gangrape victim shouldn’t be named

Besides Pepper Spray, the Rape-Axe condom too

How TV ads turned us into a nation of voyeurs

Delhi gangrape, liberalisation and Godwin‘s Law

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Besides Pepper Spray, the Rape-Axe condom

5 January 2013

BRIJESH KALAPPA writes: Delhi with a population of 16.3 million in 2011 reported the highest number of ‘rape’ cases (414) followed by Mumbai (194) which has a population of 20.5 Million.

Predominantly high instances of rape maybe somewhat acceptable to the police if a neighbour were to have raped a lone woman, but if a woman cannot step out safely even while escorted by a male friend well before 9 pm on a public holiday, the state of women’s safety has clearly reached its nadir.

Since the police cannot be at all places at all times, if a rape occurs in a private location, it may not be preventable, but it is indeed a police failure if rapes occur in moving cars and in public places with unfailing regularity.

Under the circumstances, it is imperative for the Delhi police to set up decoy police women with extremely strong back-up at ill-lit points where rapists would generally pick up their victims.

The decoy police women must be previously trained in armed combat, she could even be accompanied by a female colleague.

The back-up team must be in high speed unnumbered and unmarked vehicles which are parked in pre-fixed areas. A trap must thus be laid out for potential rapists and they must be nabbed and vigorously prosecuted.

***

It was widely reported that at South Africa’s World Cup event Rape-Axe condoms which can be worn by women were handed out free to visitors.

If a woman feared being raped, she could insert the Rape-Axe condom inside herself like a diaphragm or tampon and, if a man attempted to rape her, the Rape-Axe’s inside hooks attach themselves to the penis and don’t come off and instead become even tighter thus stopping the man from even being able to urinate.

The only way to remove it is by seeing a doctor therefore helping the prosecution.

Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau while advocating chemical castration for repeat offenders had held recently that “The Indian legislatures are yet to address the issue (of rape) with all seriousness by exploring the possibility of permitting imposition of alternative sentences of surgical castration or chemical castration, particularly in cases involving rape of minors, serial offenders and child molesters or as a condition for probation, or as an alternative sentence in case of plea bargaining.”

Chemical castration entails the administration of anti-androgen drugs, such as cyproterone acetate or the birth-control drug Depo-Provera, which is injected to the offender every three months.

An antipsychotic agent Benperidol is also administered by way of injection.

Even in a Country like South Africa where instances of rape are incredibly high there is an event which stands out and shocks the conscience of persons hearing of the crime, just as the gang rape of Nirbhaya.

It was reported on 26 July 2012 that a gang of robbers gunned down a father, raped and murdered his wife and finally drowned the couple’s 12-year-old son in scalding bath water.

Amaro Viana was murdered to prevent him from identifying the three housebreakers who raided Viana’s suburban South Africa residence. The gang included the family’s gardener and the son of a domestic servant.

It was claimed they were seeking revenge for the ill-treatment meted out to them by the Viana family. In a Court appearance the gardener Patrick Radebe, 24, had confessed to being an integral part of the gang which broke into the Viana home in October last year.

The Vereeniging Regional Court heard with shocked horror that after gaining access to the house in Walkerville, a suburb of Johannesburg, the gang lay in wait for Amaro’s engineer father Tony, 53, to arrive.

As he walked through the front door, they attacked him with golf clubs and a machete-like knife known locally as a ‘panga’ before tying him up and ordering him to tell them how to open the family safe.

When Mr Viana’s wife Geraldine, 43, and her son returned to the home, they too fell victim to the criminals. Both the mother and son were tied up in separate rooms.

It was then that two of the three men raped Mrs Viana before both she and her husband were shot dead.

According to their court confession, Radebe and his co-accused Sipho Mbele, 21, did not want to leave an eye-witness- namely the boy alive.

“We went to the bathroom and turned on the tap,” the pair’s statement read, “We gagged him because he was crying. We forced him into the bath face down, knowing that he would drown.”

In a final act of brutality, the Viana’s family dog was also killed when its stomach was slit open with a knife.

Fortunately Mr Viana’s daughter from his first marriage, Gabriela, was not at home when the attackers struck. It is reported that despite a recent improvement in crime statistics, South Africa remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

***

In the Delhi case Ram Singh, 33, the prime accused is said to be a volatile man, known among friends as “Mental,” it was reported.

During investigation, the police is said to have learnt as to how he lost control and ended up brutalizing the woman and assaulting her friend.

“When she resisted and bit his hand, he says, he got very angry. Alcohol and the victims’ defiance, made him go berserk. He picked up a rod and hit the two everywhere. His accomplices followed suit,” a source is reported to have told a newspaper.

It was reported that Ram Singh picked up fights at the slightest pretext after the death of his wife a couple of years ago. Apparently, there’s an accident case registered against him and he has admitted to having been involved in several brawls.

It was reported that the investigating team led by Inspector Anil Sharma had found Ram Singh a cold and remorseless man.

“Initially, he denied everything. But when he began to open up, he chose to divulge each detail, with no repentance. Such brutality does not affect him. He tried to destroy evidence by washing the bus with confidence and told his accomplices to not worry, and lie low for some time. He stayed calm when he went and parked the bus in R.K. Puram, and then took it back to the owner in Noida. The confidence he shows is not of a novice definitely,” an officer is reported to have told journalists.

Apparently, even as the gang was brutalizing the woman by turns, Ram Singh had made a plan to cover their tracks. Ram Singh decided to physically strip the victims of their clothes completely before throwing them out of the bus to leave no trace of incriminating semen or blood.

He also reportedly retained their mobiles and switched them off. Three mobiles — one belonging to the woman and two to her friend — have now been recovered along with some of their clothes.

Even as her treatment was in progress, Nirbhaya was reported to have severe genital, abdominal and head injuries. Doctors treating her claimed the woman, who was on ventilator support in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital, was “very critical”.

It was reported that a senior doctor had told the correspondent at the hospital that “We performed several life-saving procedures on her within an hour of her being brought to the hospital around 3am. Her injuries were severe and she has lost a lot of blood.”

The victim had reportedly lost as much as a litre of blood and bore severe internal injuries. “Her intestines are damaged; the blood supply to her intestines has been severed. It looks like she was assaulted by a blunt object as her face also bore injury marks,” said the doctor.

The life-saving surgery is said to have lasted for more than four hours in the morning. Doctors tried to repair her intestines and other damaged organs and tissues.

Signalling that the victims end was near, the doctor is reported to have said “Her injuries are fatal. Though we are pumping her with the strongest of antibiotics possible, sooner or later gangrene is bound to set in. She is in a very bad shape.” She finally died on on 29th December 2012.

***

It was reported on Dec 14, 2008 that three men were killed in a police encounter in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh.

They were the suspects in a case of acid attack on two local college girls.

The three were shot dead by police who claim that the suspects attacked them with acid and country made pistols when they were brought to reconstruct the crime.

Superintendent of Police, Warangal Sajjanar is reported to have said, “We asked them to surrender but they attacked us with acid, sickles and country made pistols. We had no choice but to fire.”

The network reported that “However, the police is unable to explain how the three got hold of the acid and the guns even while they were surrounded by officers.

The families of the suspects say the police killed the three without investigating the matter.

The father of one of the killed suspects said, “My son was not Srinivas’ friend. The police killed him without verification.”

Meanwhile, the families of the two girls who were attacked with acid and are now fighting to stay alive, say that what happened to the suspects is justified.

Devender, the father of one of the acid attack victims Swapnika said, “Hum bahut khush hai. Jab main usko (Swapnika) shaam main bataunga toh who bhi bahut khush hogi (I am very happy. When I tell this to my daughter, she will also be very happy).”

While the public has lauded this police action, the State home Minister has conveyed that if anything suspicious is found in the police report on the encounter, there could be an enquiry.

As for Swapnika, who’s still fighting for her life, this piece of news might heal some of her wounds.”

No more cases of acid attack were reported in Andhra Pradesh for the next four years.

Delhi gangrape, liberalisation & Godwin’s Law

2 January 2013

Dozens of reasons have been ascribed to the gangrape of the Delhi paramedic: from the bestial nature of men in the nation’s lawless capital to the base instincts aroused by Bollywood item numbers, ads and songs, and everything else in between.

As if to prove Godwin’s Law, two commentators on the Al Jazeera website have invoked the ‘L’ word—liberalisation—blaming the economic reforms in the country and arguing that there could be a connection “between the growth of violent, undemocratically imposed, unjust and unfair economic policies and the growth of crimes against women”:

The activist and ecofeminist Vandana Shiva:

“The economic model focusing myopically on “growth” begins with violence against women by discounting their contribution to the economy….

“A model of capitalist patriarchy which excludes women’s work and wealth creation in the mind deepens the violence by displacing women from their livelihoods and alienating them from the natural resources on which their livelihoods depend….

“The economic model shaped by capitalist patriarchy is based on the commodification of everything, including women.”

The author Dinesh Sharma argues:

“The new paradigm says “profit is better than poverty”, “greed is good” and “chasing after material wealth” is not antithetical to the traditional Indian values, which preach that “one should do one’s duty, not worry about the fruits of one’s labour”.

“As a result, women have rightly acquired more power because they are working outside the home, earning more money and raising children in the modern nuclear families. The traditional family has broken down, to some degree, as “the couple” or “the jodi” in a marriage has assumed more importance over the joint family.

“Women feel empowered at home and may be at the workplace, but are they safe? Has the rapid pace of change in women’s lives left men bereft to idle mischief? Has the men’s inner world matured with the changing current of the times?”


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