Paralysis By Analysis

We need swift punishment for those who perpetrate crimes against women - like those in the recent Guwahati case

One of our national pastimes is to analyze near about anything- from the state of the nation to the performance of the Indian cricket team in this tournament or that. This propensity to analyze becomes a disease when it paralyses action.

I was shaken out of my wits when various news channels were showing a mob assaulting a young girl in Guwahati for no apparent reason, except that she was leaving a pub after attending a party. The visuals I saw were of a mob of crude men, many of them staring right into TV cameras, with no fear that they may be identified. And I do not know why the TV crews were busy filming the ghastly incident when they should have been brave enough to defend the hapless girl.

By the time I gathered my wits around me, the analysis had already begun. A news channel was quoting the DGP of Assam saying that the media had blown the incident out of proportion; another one was asking questions as to why nobody tried to save the girl from assault; while yet another was wondering if there was more to the incident that met the eye. Politicians were making the right noises, the media were going to town showing the sickening footage again and again, and somewhere I felt the issue of swift punishment to the guilty was going into the background. Today, I am sure, there will be long winded discussions on the incident on every news channel, with retired cops, politicians, sociologists and the rest of the vocal classes telling us what was and what should have been.

Where I am concerned, analysis can wait- after all, if the girl were someone from our own families, what would we do? Sit back and analyze what happened, or do something about it?

For whatever my opinion is worth, anybody assaulting a woman should be given the same treatment by the police in full public view or else the whole incident will again become a routine analysis- the cops will analyze the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code; the public prosecutor will analyze the charge-sheet; the courts will analyze the evidence; higher courts will analyze the lower court’s verdict and this trail of analyses will become one collective paralysis till the incident conveniently fades from public memory.

I know human rights activists will question my advocacy of such summary punishment, but my question is just this- what about the human rights of the girl who was so brutally assaulted? Where are the likes of APDR, PUCL and such others now? Why don’t they speak up now? Or are human rights only for the accused and not for victims?

Let’s not paralyze ourselves; let us act- change the law, provide for summary punishment; just beat up the goons; but let us DO something.


About the Author


I am a former bureaucrat, and have worked a lot on gender issues, disaster management and good governance. I am also the proud father of two lovely daughters. read more...

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