LEADING A ‘CANDLE LIGHT procession’ against the gang rape and murder of an eight year old girl at Kathua and alleged rape of a women by an MLA of the ruling BJP, Congress president Rahul Gandhi opposed playing politics on rape.
And that was exactly what he was doing, unless I am losing memory (possible after 70) and forgot how many times he had marched similarly when Congress-led UPA was in power. Perhaps he wants to aver that there were no rapes at all during his party’s rule.
Indian politicians are capable of such double speak. The Congress accuses Prime Minister Modi of “remaining silent” on every incident that happened in the country, after a 10-year rule of its own PM who became famous as ‘Mauni Baba’ and dared not speak a word (unless ordered to do so by ‘madam’). While Modi is asked why a motorcycle collided with an auto on Hazratganj road in Lucknow (or some such event), Mauni Baba could keep mum on coal block allotment scam even when he and was handling coal ministry.
Finally Modi did speak and condemn the rapes which had put the entire nation to shame. Criticism of his statement are bound to follow. What the recently crowned Congress boss said as Crown Prince about an office-bearer of his party killing his live-in partner and trying to burn her in a hotel tandoor is not
known. I am sure his suspension was late and his expulsion from the party doubtful.
A group of advocates have raised the Kathua rape case before the Supreme Court and urged it to take suo motu cognisance of the issue. The SC agreed. The eight-year-old girl from the nomadic Bakarwal community of Muslims had disappeared from Rasana village in J&K’s Kathua district on January 10. A week later, her body was found. Jammu lawyers allegedly blocked filing of a charge sheet and want a CBI probe. Attempts are also being made to give it a communal colour.
One version is that the crime was committed to scare the community away from Jammu as it was involved in cow slaughter and drug trafficking.
The police charge sheet says the girl was abducted, confined, brutalised, gang-raped repeatedly, sedated and finally beaten to death. Eight people, including a juvenile, have been booked, but a woman lawyer (not from the community) alleged threats from the lawyers for taking up the case.
In the Unnao case, the BJP government in UP added fuel to the fire by delaying arrest of the MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar till ordered to do so by a court. A BJP minister from MP doubted if the rape took place at all as the woman was a mother of three — as if that was reason enough. Most saffron fringe groups suffer from oral diarrhea and make nost inappropriate statements, always at the wrong time.
The woman and her father were promptly arrested when they protested at the MLA’s house and the father died of beating in custody.
The Jammu lawyers’ stand is mysterious. Because they are predominantly Hindu, the issue is now communalized. Rahul joining the bandwagon, therefore, has the added angle of vote-bank politics. That the tribe paddled drugs is not denied. But with cow slaughter added, it became a communal issue and the drugs forgotten.
Many (some say most) lawyers’ only role in the legal process is getting postponements. And that suits our politicians whose favourite phrase, when they have nothing to say in defence, is “let the law take its course”. They know that they can continue to enjoy power and the benefits it brings for decades to come as lawyers help them get “taariq pe taariq.”
The Hindu daily, long ago tranced the course of a government file from the time it originated till it was closed, in a laudable effort to study red-tapism (though nothing came of the trouble taken). Why such a study is not undertaken about the putting off of cases for decades is not known.
And instead of solving this major issue, our judges are busy shadow boxing.