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Stringent Laws and Rape

The reports of human savagery continues to pour in from various parts of the country — a series of inexplicable cases of rape of minor girls has shaken the conscience of the billions of the countrymen as their head hang in shame. As a society nothing can be much worse than this cruel fact when a six-month-old infant was allegedly raped and murdered. The rape cases of Kathua, Unnao, Indore all amplifies the garbage mentality of the perpetrators of the crime.  Words will fall short to condemn such heinous crimes but the incidents also raise a question as a society where we are heading and how these people with sick mentality and criminal bent of mind coexist. The series of such incidents also casts its dark shadow on the society we are living in. A society which prides in respecting human values, the rape cases of minors is nothing less than animal savagery.  The perpetrators of such crime have lost all rights to be called human and it is a shame on us.
The despicable way the society reacted to the rape cases speaks volumes of the degrading value system of the Indian society.  The way the rape of a minor girl in Kathua was politicized and  the subsequent events will put to shame any right-thinking indivisual in a civilized society. The political class as usual acted in a crude, crass manner while citizens were mum. It can be said that in all these cases, the country’s moral compass has been put to test. This is by no means the first time a child in India has been subjected to the kind of heinous crime that makes you wonder about the dark sickness in our society that we so easily cloak. That the process is moving on, FIRs filed and so forth, will once again give us the sense of normality and closure that has in the past allowed us to move past every such crime. Kathua rape case will become another occasion for organizing a momentary outrage.
Facing criticism, government again acted in a haste and brought about an ordinance to amend existing laws to include the death penalty for the rapists of children below 12 years of age. The Union cabinet took up the draft ordinance into consideration and approved the proposed amendments to the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO ACT, 2012. But will capital punishment to rapists arrest the growing incidence of rapes well only time can tell. In India, before 2013, rape was not considered as major a crime to have stringent punishment. The maximum punishment was up to seven years of rigorous imprisonment.
But, in April 2013, after the Anti-Rape Bill was passed by Parliament, an act of rape is now liable to life imprisonment, imprisonment for the whole of life, and even death sentence for rarest of rare cases. So harsher punishment in the rape cases already exists, so how much this new legislation will act as a deterent remains to be seen.
In countries like China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia  there are strict laws on rape. The punishment ranges from capital punishment to beheading of head, to castration. There is no denial that India needs a very strict well-defined rape laws, which is able to instill fear in the sick minds. France has a very wek defined punishment for rapists. As per French laws, rapist is liable to be imprisoned for a maximum of 20 years in case he has committed an aggravated incident of rape. 30 years of imprisonment is liable for rapists, when they are even accused to cause death of the rape victim. Rape is punished by life imprisonment when it is followed by torture or acts of barbarity, while the US considers rape as most serious crime and has strict punishment  laws for the rapists.
But in midst of all this, what do we say for a country that converts the gang-rape and death of an eight-year child into a political football? Can any law prevent such kind of brazen insensitiveness. The answer to the question is in negative, and as a society which champions the cause of human values, the conduct shown after the recent rape cases is already an indication that our right to call ourselves human has being punctured.

About the author

Ankur Kalita