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Mercy petitions by the rapists of means the hanging has been now pushed to 1st February. What will happen?
The figure leapt out as I was watching the news; 2590 days since that unforgettable day when a 23-year-old medical student was brutally gang-raped by 6 monsters who not only committed the heinous act, but hurt her repeatedly, till her eyes closed into eternal darkness.
2590 days have gone by since then! A horrified nation watched as the police hauled up the culprits who showed not a trace of remorse at what they had done. It was as if the humaneness that is part of normal human beings had been switched off. Five of them were sent to jail, where one committed suicide, or so the story goes. If so, that was too easy a death for him.
The unkindest cut of all was that one of these monsters was a juvenile, short of eighteen by a few months. “Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered.” This quote was attributed to Aristotle in his essay titled ‘Politics’, and how true it is!
The juvenile criminal laws not having been revised since the last century, there was no way to treat him the same way as his co-conspirators had been treated. After all, he was a juvenile, was the argument… a juvenile who proved by his vile acts that he was the cruellest of them all, the one who subjected the helpless young girl to the maximum agony. And yet, he was a juvenile, and so, he got clean away. They sent him to a juvenile home in perfect anonymity, hoping that he would reform.
However, wasn’t that the worst thing to do? As a rapist, and one who has escaped the gamut of the law, what stops him in future from revealing that streak of cruelty that branded him a monster in the eyes of the law, and the entire country? How many unsuspecting victims are within his reach, unaware of his identity? Having spent three short years in a reform facility, he is now living a normal life in a so-called normal world!
The Supreme Court finally came to a decision to hang the four rapists on the 22nd of January. The whole country rejoiced. Justice was finally around the corner.
The adage ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ was on the minds of many, but in all the television debates that followed, in newspapers, on social media and just everywhere, there was a collective sigh of relief that justice would soon be done.
That sigh has turned to one of despondency. Obviously, the four criminals have sharp legal minds working for them, advising them on how to evade the law. One of them filed a mercy petition which was mercifully turned down by the President. However, there is a clause in the law which states that convicts must be granted a reprieve from the time a mercy petition is filed. Hence, the next date for their hanging is dated fourteen days later, on the 1st of February. A loophole remains that if the remaining criminals also file mercy petitions, the law will have to wait further to hang them.
All right-thinking citizens must have one hope in their minds. That these monsters are hanged on the first of February. That they are not allowed to live on and on! That they are not, through a miscarriage of justice, allowed to slip through a loophole and go scot free.
Even as this piece comes straight from a heart filled with anguish, fresh images of injustice play out on the television screen. The reporter terms it the story that no one is talking about, but still, a story that is haunting in its iniquity. Back in 2018, in the city of Kanpur, a gang of five perverts assaulted a minor and killed her. Her parents filed a case against the men.
Unfortunately, the latter were let out on bail and around eight men went to the victim’s home and threatened the mother to withdraw the case against them. When she refused, they dragged her and her sister out and beat them up brutally. Battered with bricks, bruised and bloody, the mother died in hospital. Two of the five rapists are still free and out there, the other three having been taken into custody.
The names are different, the place as well, but the horrendousness of the crime remains the same. This case only proves that the four men in the Delhi case, convicted and sentenced to be hanged, should not be given any more leeway. Unfortunately, the law decrees that if the other three file their mercy petitions as well, a fourteen-day reprieve will have to be observed, and the hanging will hang in the balance for days to come.
Lydia Maria Child’s quote rings true on this appalling scenario. “Law is not law, if it violates the principles of eternal justice.”
And finally, may I appeal to holier-than-thou lawyers to please stop offering unsolicited advice to a grieving mother, asking her to pardon her daughter’s unscrupulous killers. For if these monsters get back their freedom, there is no guessing what further atrocities they will wreak on their helpless victims. Especially when they realise that Jonathan Swift was prophetic when he said, “Laws are like cobwebs which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.”
The nation waits with bated breath along with the brave parents of the Delhi victim for February 1st. May justice be done after more than seven long years of unending anguish!
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