2013-01-27

Republic Day, Verma report and wishes for a better India

Today, India celebrated its 64th Republic Day and it's the day in the life of every ordinary citizen where they show pride towards the national anthem, subscribe to values of patriotism such as loyalty, peace, humanity and international peaceful co-existence. On any ordinary situation, I would have been present to the flag raising ceremony but I didn't go this time. Not that I feel less Indian today, but looking at the past events that took place over the year, the heart wasn't in this time.
The brutal gang rape of Nirbhaya made me think twice as to why the state has failed to protect its daughters and what make things worse is that cases of rape is reported everyday. Certainly, the laws need to be tougher and a stronger message must be dispatched to potential rapists and perpetrators of crime against women.
The young guns of India took to the streets in Delhi for a just cause and yet the forces made use of violence to dampen the spirit. They were not able to break the unifying force and the Government buckled under pressure as they set up the fast track court to deal with rape. On the occasion of 64th Republic Day celebration, the questions asked by India is remain largely unanswered and the fight for justice doesn't stop here. Justice Verma committee chided the Government who congratulated the police on the gang rape of Nirbhaya and points out to loophole in the judicial system that has failed time and again. He recommended imprisonment for gang rape, community policing and imprisonment of not less than 20 years against against gang rape.
This is where I have serious issues as the learned judge recommendation on 'gang-rape.' Why just gang rape? A rape is a rape and the law should deal strictly with a rapist who committed atrocity against a woman. I am dejected that the judged rejected suggestion for chemical castration on a person who rape.  I think chemical castration would have served as a serious deterrent to perpetrators of such heinous crime against women. I also rue the idea that the judge is against death penalty. The government can no longer afford to go soft on rapists and they should set a strong precedent that a person will think twice before committing rape.
I strongly feel that the Verma report is a timid report since there is a spate of poor and soft measures against rapists. Certainly, this is the last thing that India need on Republic Day. Honestly speaking, I feel that life long imprisonment and chemical castration as well as flogging should have been introduced and implemented as law. It would have led to a fall in the number of rape cases. Moreover, a minor who commit rape must be flogged with a sentence of 40 years in jail at least while an adult must spend at least thirty years of imprisonment. Any person who harass a woman, is involved in eye teasing, make sexual comments or circulate mms or click pictures should be arrested and sentenced between three to five years in jail. Moreover, the government should have offices in several places where women should be encouraged to record statements in the presence of a social worker, psychologist and lady police officer.
However, Judge Verma suggesting that voyeurism to be punished up to seven years is positive one as well as three years punishment for stalking a woman and special procedure for protecting people with disabilities.
Nevertheless, no matter what the changes and suggestions are, till there is no change in the attitudes of males towards women, we shall not be able to bring the desired changes. As males, we must be ready to accept women empowerment, equality between males and females and stop looking at women as a sexual object or toy. We need to stop use impotent excuses that some women provoke rape.
I think we can hope for a better tomorrow and next year on R-Day, we shall celebrate India as a Republic. I also wish that laws are implemented to protect homosexuals and lesbians and ensure they are treated in a just and fair manner. The law on rapists should also be extended to homosexuals and lesbians who are sexually attacked as well as ensure that we live up to being the biggest democracy in the world. Let's not attack and assault artists, cartoonists, rights of the weak, treat women with respect and bring justice, equality in our society.

(Happy) Republic Day
Jai Hind

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