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POSCO act came into being 7 years ago. But children, even toddlers and babies are still being raped and killed. When will this change?
There was a time when I used to be glued to newspapers but not anymore. I tried to avoid reading the news of the ill fated 3 year old Rafida Khatoon but the news was everywhere. I stopped going on Twitter as the hashtag #JusticeForRafidaKhatoon carried gruesome details pertaining to the little girl’s butchery.
I am a mother and my heart wept for that little toddler imagining the harrowing episode she had gone through that ended her short life.
I remembered Asifa. I also remembered that I had written a poem for her. I had wept for her the same way I am now weeping for Rafida. I take a quick look at my daughter. She is now a young girl of eleven. A thought crossed my mind and sent a chill down my spine. Perceptions that kept disturbing me. What if the victim would have been my daughter?
How safe are our girls here in India? Rafida was taken away from her mother who was sleeping on the platform next to her. Asifa had been out grazing horses. There had been many occasions in the past when I had sent my daughter for school picnics, outings, and now she is excited about her upcoming excursion trip with her friends from school.
Is she secure? Will my daughter stay unharmed till she returns? Or will there be another repeat of Rafida or Asifa with me writing poems and blogs to create a nudge to this society? This was too much for a mother to bear, and I am sure it will resonate with other mothers as well.
According to a report by child rights NGO CRY, sexual offence is committed against a child in India every 15 minutes, and there has been an increase of more than 500 per cent over the past 10 years in crime against minors. “While Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 15 per cent of recorded crimes against children, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh closely follow with 14 per cent and 13 per cent respectively,” the report said.
Until 2012, rape cases irrespective of the victim’s age, were initially registered only under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. In 2012, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, better known as the POCSO Act, came into force, which specifically provides for punishment for the offence of rape against a minor. Child rape cases are now registered under both the IPC and the POCSO Act.
But seven years down the line we are still where we used to be. Nothing has changed. On the contrary savageries on minors have increased. The offenders are no more afraid of punishments. In better words pedophilia has now taken an upper hand. These pedophiles are mentally deranged adults who are sexually attracted towards children.
As in Rafida’s case the CCTV footage shows how calmly the monster had abducted, raped and killed her, a 3 year old toddler. The good news is that those accused have been taken into custody.
As an ordinary human being frustrated that in our country legal recourse takes years before the verdict, I demand capital punishment for these culprits. Again, it is just my thinking that such harsh sentence might deter the criminals from committing these ghastly offences as I could see no remorse on the faces of those offenders. I keep my fingers crossed that from now on the criminals will think twice before executing such heinous acts.
RIP Rafida. We have failed to protect you and give you a healthy life. May you find a better place in the house of Gods. And before I forget I now need to re think if I should be actually sending my daughter to that excursion from her school. Is India anymore a safe place for children?
Image source: pexels
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Rimli Bhattacharya is a First class gold medalist in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of
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