Gruesome act |Everyone’s pained, let everyone protest

Representational Photo
Representational Photo

As if  last year's  traumatic experience   of  Khatua    was not enough  to  lacerate our moral fiber  – where a teenage girl fell prey to the lust  of  the demented males and lost her life  – another female toddler has met with the near  same fate in Sumbal,  Bandipur.  Understandably,  whole Valley  is up in  outrage. Alas ;  we don't   have  a hint that  other parts of the state feel same way.

What can one say of a society which   has no compunction   in taking up adversarial positions    even  in a matter as despicable as  rape and death of a  girl child?   We have seen in the past  and continue to see  it today. Indifference of other parts of thestate   to the tragedy  is the  illustration.    Rape    is an assault   on   female victim's     total  being    and      lacerates  society as a whole.  It doesn't stigmatize victim  alone but shames us  all .

Is this   other   aspect of collateral damage the   three decade old conflict has   inflicted on us?  The constant violence – physical and psychological – created by the    ongoingconflict has instilled   in us  a sense of a fear, vulnerability andhelplessness.  We have becomedesensitized  even  to ourselves  and    feel happy  to   construct  " the other "  to make him an object of suspicion and   accusation. We have   been   afflicted with a malaise that even a crimeagainst  women is taken as  an object to raise passions    against one   another   and   set up  competing    political postures.  Far  too  extraneous  and   inappropriate    matters are   interjected  in to deflect the    real  issue.  

 This is our tragedythat  we tend to see everything  in terms of ' Azadi    and Nationalism " One    must  understand that   in  this   political     game  the only  beneficiary is     perpetrator of the   crime. Our   quest to   outsmart one another on  a political chess board    ends up  in denying justice to the veryperson for whom  we claim to stand up.   Such is the  extent  that even  we   view the matter in  religious andregional  terms   which ought to  be  seen in  unadulterated term  as a heinous crime   committed not only  on  a teenage girl  but against us all.  That   factor alone  should   determine our   response to this inhuman  act.

This is  the time  to listen to  Mirwaiz Ummer Farooq's   who counsels calm and self introspection and  advises against gettingswayed  by   emotions, lest the victim is denied justice.

   Crime  is community,  caste  and   creed   neutral. There should notbe a selective      indignation   nor a community   based  approach    towards it. Natureof  the crime committed  on a  teen aged  girl    is anger arousing, across the board.  We must  rise in one   and  demand that   theperpetrators  of the crime  be brought to the justice.

 There are allegationsthat the accused  has, in connivance witha school teacher, manipulated his DOB to  show him minor    to escape the   rigor of the law . There is a public  demand that accused in this case be charged  under POSCO  law and not RPC. It ispertinent to  note  that  state   has drafted The  Jammu and Kashmir  Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection  of Children  ) Bill 2018 –   which proposes   to replace J&K Juvenile  Justice   ( Care And Protection of Children ) Act2013   .   

 The Bill   has incorporated    significant provisions to the Juvenilelaw  of the state  which are found   in   the Central  Juvenile Justice  ( Care AndProtection of Children)  Act  2015 . These measures are   with respect to the children who are in theage group of 15 -18   and forstreamlining   the     adoption process. This  marks an  improvement over  Juvenile Justice ( Care  and Protection of children ) Act 2000  –  nowrepealed.

 The Bill   introduces concept of  "Judicial WaiverSystem  ". According to Sections 15 -18of the Bill, a child who has completed or is above  the age of  16 years  and is alleged to have committed a heinous offence   shall be    tried as an adult.  Heinousoffences  are   those  offences for which the minimum punishment under RPC or any other law forthe time being in force is imprisonment  for seven years  or more.

 The Bill has evokedstrong reaction among some circles in   Kashmir. Objection  has been   taken  on the grounds  that  Judicial Waiver will be detrimental  to the youth of the Valley   and   the Adoption provision will affect StateSubject laws and  demographic   character of the state.  It is  said  that under the JudicialWaiver  System  many ' innocent' children   will be booked.   Even a poorstone-pelter will fall in the net   who,in the given legal frame work, would be dealt with  rather leniently. Remember,  Waiver would be invoked only if children in 16 – 18   age group commit    heinous offence.      As per the National Crime Record Bureau, in the year 2011 -64 % of the crimes has been committed by juveniles between the age of 16 -18, including  heinous  crimes.    Sooner than latter our state will have to contend with the  challenge. The Bill  introduces  comprehensive provisions    regarding Adoption and Foster care.   It is inappropriate    to  invoke Art 370      when Bill makes  no departure  from  these provisions.  The  emerging situation demands an unbiased look at the whole issue.

 But then     law   alone  will not yield desired results. We need a specialized and    sensitized    Police personal  to deal with the  situation arising out of an outragecaused  against  women – more so where victim is a child. Society cannot shirk its responsibility.

(B L Saraf is Former Principal District & SessionsJudge)

Related Stories

No stories found.
Greater Kashmir