Crimes Against Women: The Bestial Lows!

 Accept it or not: feudalism had never left India. The feudal forces of exploitation, torture and crimes still flourish, particularly in the northern belt of the country including, prominently, the most populous state of India, Uttar Pradesh (UP), with its around 20 Crore people. This state has been the hotbed of crimes against women, communal violence, maximum custodial deaths, fake encounters and so on for decades, even though its crime rate does not still top the list thanks to its enormous population.  


The powerful upper castes here continue playing the dominating roles as landlords, politicians, criminals, rapists and mafias. And they work in tandem forming a huge empire of vested interests that percolates down favorably to the local authorities, including the police in particular. Naturally, there has always been an overpowering spirit of mutual protection between them. Whenever any of the feudal lords is under a cloud of doubt or danger the corresponding forces get into motion by engineering cover-ups or the like, finally ensuring their protection against all odds.


All low-caste inhabitants are untouchable for them, except their women. The upper-caste men or their off-springs or their domesticated goons prowl constantly for an opportunity to torture, rape and kill low-caste women, sometimes as measures of punishment for what they decide is wrong, and sometimes just for carnal pleasures. The poor down-trodden low-caste menfolk, subdued in a continuous process of oppression, watch dumb and numb, and if some dare to protest the feudal counterparts in the local administration act immediately, suppressing them ruthlessly. Of course, there would be exceptions always when low-caste individuals manage to infiltrate the upper-caste bastion, assuming important positions of power.


During the last few COVID-19 infested months the notorious state has been witnessing a series of brutal rapes and rape-murders, one after the other as if those beasts achieved acquired immunity to possible action by the administration or the justice system. One of such inhuman acts happened on the 14th of September 2020 at Hathras in UP when a 19-year-old low-caste girl was waylaid, abducted, gangraped and physically brutalized by four upper-caste beasts, almost to the point of death. With her bruised-battered body, her spine broken and her tongue cut the victim just managed to reach home, and was immediately admitted in the local hospital. Later, as her condition became critical, she was transported to a hospital in Delhi. Details of her treatment there are unclear as the media that time were head-to-foot engaged in the investigation of some glam gals.


The media or some of it, hopelessly polarized as they are in India, woke up only when the unfortunate girl died on 29th September. They were forced to stay awake as the UP police hurriedly took away the body to Hathras, and cremated it around 2.30-3.30 AM on the next day, without the victim’s family’s wish or consent or permission. And then only, the media decided to make it a national outrage recalling, justifiably, the horrors of the Delhi Gangrape case in 2012 that shook the nation leading to a mass movement against the rapists and drastic changes in the legalities of crimes against women.


The UP police went on with its brazen act. Some of their top cops even said that it was not a case of rape at all: the girl died due to a neck injury the intensity of which made her bite off her tongue. Their sayings were supposedly based on tests done one week after the incident, and the final autopsy report. More acts followed in apparent haste: the victim’s family was isolated, their phones being allegedly snatched away; the whole village of Hathras was sealed not allowing anybody to enter or exit; political leaders of the opposition parties were blocked, arrested and even manhandled; the now-desperate media were also not allowed to enter Hathras.


First, the police gave the COVID-19 excuse for such coercive measures, and then, as the state Chief Minister announced a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe, they said no one would be allowed to enter till the probe was over. The family must be protected from outside influence and any possible tempering of evidence must be prevented, they also maintained. The top cops further strengthened the apparent cover-up by saying that it was a conspiracy to fuel upper-caste versus lower-caste community tension.


The nation exploded then: people, women activists and political parties coming out on streets protesting; the High Court giving a notice to state government to explain the hurried cremation; Human Rights groups asking for explanations and so on. But crimes against women in the state continued unabated, at least two more women being brutalized and murdered in the last two days. The feudal status-quo and the brazenness only got heightened, with the state being ruled by the most powerful national political party. Instead of promising stern action and preventive measures the ruling dispensation chose to make mockery of protesting opposition leaders and others. In many instances of rape-murders in the recent past leaders of that political party were found to be involved, at times directly. A well-known former judge added more fuel to fire by building up a theory as to why men rape women, the COVID-induced unemployment being the main reason for such crimes, according to him.


In spite of the fast-tracking justice system in regard to crimes against women that was developed post 2012 Delhi case and the recent executions of three of the perpetrators, there seems to be no deterrent to the enemies of humanity who continue to wreak havoc on the society as they wish. This issue is seemingly beyond laws and the justice system. The society at large must take the final call, to prevent more horrors like Nirbhaya, Hathras and others in future. The society must break out of the exploitative feudal values and the vested interests’ nexus. Governments can only provide more effective laws, if at all; the society only can implement to ensure a protective environment for women.  


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