Published: Thursday, 11 May 2017 10:00 AM
Is sending Nirbhaya's convicts to gallows enough?
16 December 2012 is a date which is etched in the minds of everyone, for the brutality and pain endured by a woman. The woman, referred to as ‘Nirbhaya’ (or courageous) by the media to conceal her identity passed away but not before stirring the conscience of a drowsy country, and forced the people out on the streets to vociferously demand justice and stringent laws to protect women.
The police sprang into action and arrested the six men, one of whom was a juvenile at the time of committing the crime and filed cases against them. After following the due legal procedures, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling of the High Court and sentenced the four remaining convicts to the gallows.
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Death penalty to the four convicts (one of them committed suicide in the prison and one was sent to a correction facility as he was a juvenile) is only the first step to providing justice to women. This case has provided the lawmakers an opportunity to get together and take holistic measures to ensure that the women of this country feel safe and secure. The death penalty, will in a way, bring closure to the family of Nirbhaya but the real justice would only happen when all women in this country feel safe and are treated with respect.
Change in mindsets
The real challenge for the government, law- makers and law enforcers is to change mindsets of people. The regressive mindsets of a number of people living in the country are terribly out of sync with the ideals of a modern and progressive India that it aims to become. For a long time now, we have been oppressing women, and treating them unfairly. The problem is the thinking of a large number of men who view women as inferior to them and are not able to digest the fact that women today, are asserting themselves and are independent. As a society, we need to change mindsets and collectively fight this attitude, to make our country safe for women.
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This case has brought the focus firmly on women protection. The outrage of the population has forced the law makers to move in the direction of framing stringent laws to protect women and ensure that anyone guilty of crime against women is dealt with strictly. An immediate aftermath of the incident was that the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance,2013 widened the definition of rape, and set out stricter punishment for the guilty. Help lines and mobile apps designed to help women in danger have also been developed. A lot more needs to be done to ensure safety of women.
The incident should lead to an overhaul of the entire system to make it more sympathetic towards its people, in particular women. The education system, police, government, judiciary, media, citizens all need to come together to ensure that such ghastly incidents are never repeated.
While death penalty to the four accused men should act as a deterrent, it is surely not enough. A lot needs to be done to ensure that women are treated as equals and can live their lives without any fear. Only then, can we as a country progress.
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