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Justice Was Served, But We Need To Go Far Beyond Celebrating The Death Of Nirbhaya’s Killers

Posted: March 21, 2020
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As Jyoti Singh’s killers were hanged, this day of justice could have been more meaningful if instead of celebrating, people did something for other victims.

Today I woke up to the news that Nirbhaya has finally got justice. Her culprits were hanged to death. I started to scroll through the news to learn more about the event.

I read how the four culprits were at unrest after knowing that that was their last night. How they cried and asked forgiveness. It could have made me sad, but when I remembered the horror of December 16th, what they did to that young woman, I became numb. I was completely unmoved.

This is the reaction I am supposed to give, right? Maybe a smile on my face while reading this would have been better for everyone. But I couldn’t smile.

However, I kept on scrolling through the news. I read about the plight of the families of the culprits. But why should I care about them? Their son didn’t care about them, why should I? Why should I be moved by their tears? Their sons had crossed all the limits of cruelty, they deserved what they had been given.

I took a deep breath and read further. Suddenly, I came across a picture. My fingers stopped and refused to move even a single bit. My eyes were wide open. I could not blink. I could feel the tears in them. It was the photo of a little child. A little boy who has barely stated to walk. His father is dead now. This boy doesn’t know perhaps what his father had done. He doesn’t understand the righteousness of the verdict. Maybe, when he grows up, he will understand. But are we really leaving him the option of growing up to be ‘a responsible member of society’?

We need justice, not celebration at suffering

His father committed a crime. The law punished his father. It was justice. But how are we going to explain him the celebrations we had after his father’s death? Hadn’t we unknowingly sown the seed of violence in his heart?

Today, he witnessed one thing. His father’s death brought enjoyment to others. What will be the impact of this on his psychology? Knowing that his father’s death is a matter of celebration for others, hatred for society will fill his innocent heart. We are punishing not only one person but paving the road for that child to be a criminal.

He is a child. We can teach him that the punishment was necessary. But how will we justify the celebration? Today he is learning that when one suffers, others enjoy it. He is relating suffering to enjoyment. If he grows up to be a man filled with rage and hatred, won’t it be our failure? We are the ones conditioning our young minds.

As soon as one starts to talk about the families of the culprits, that person becomes a villain in the eyes of most people. People will troll and ask what if it was his/her family member who had been the victim.

I would never say that they shouldn’t have been punished, but our reaction to the punishment was inhumane. We also found joy in someone’s sufferings, just as seven years ago, four men found joy in someone’s suffering. What is the difference? The impact of our joy might not be visible to the eyes, but its results will be devastating.

Shouldn’t we have marked this day black, that four men are dead due to the social structure we have created? We lost a young girl due to the same structure. This day of justice could have been more meaningful if instead of celebrating, people could have done something for other victims. Instead of celebrating, they would have  taught their children the severity of crime and how fatal the consequences can be. Instead of making it a ‘fun event’, we could have make it a lesson to future generations, not only as a threat but as a story of justice and injustice. Obviously, that is difficult.

Celebrating is easy.

We always run after the easy things. But sometimes, when you follow the easy steps, you solve the problem in a wrong way. And you again have to start from zero. This is the time we can start from the roots, with the new, young minds and condition them in such a way that we don’t have to wait for the hanging of four criminals again.

Image of celebrations outside Tihar jail courtesy video by AFP

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Shweta Verma is currently pursuing her masters in Mathematics from University of Delhi.

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