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Nirbhaya rerun in Jharkhand

Nirbhaya rerun in Jharkhand
Traumatic, inhumane, unsettling – on September 6, right in the heart of the second capital city of Jharkhand, Dumka, a 19-year-old tribal girl returning home with her boyfriend was intercepted by close to two dozen hoodlums near the Sidho-Kanho Murmu University (SKMU). They then threatened the victim and her friend by wielding daggers. The miscreants dragged the girl to a nearby secluded place. They summoned some of their friends and all of them raped the girl one-by-one while also assaulting her. The criminals, in a bid to destroy evidence, bathed the girl in a nearby pond and abandoned her without clothes on. One of them had even made a video of the whole incident and later circulated it over the internet. Though the police had arrested as many as 16 accused on the basis of the victim's statement – who is fighting for her life in a hospital-- rallies were orchestrated, and people choked their voice out clamouring for justice, the Jharkhand police appear to be passing the bucks in the name of investigation. For them, their duty ends with collecting several articles from the spot including clothes, hair pin, dagger and others to send them to forensic science laboratory for further examination. The law and order scenario appears trapped in the ego of ambitious authorities especially evident as the district superintendent of police claimed that he had constituted a special probe team to expedite the investigation and that's all! Will the smouldering anger related to cruelty against women come out of the tall towers of paperwork and legal observations? The system has always been so deaf and indifferent that it has taken no cognizance of the State Women's Commission's findings related to this incident. Though Chief Minister Raghuvar Das had assured a 'fast track' court trial in this connection – for 'the strictest punishment' to the perpetrators, it is not possible until the police prepare the charge-sheet. Despite repeated requests by the University authorities to the State Police for opening a police station near the Campus, the message had so far been bouncing off their unresponsive ears. One imagines that, in an age when issues related to women safety have become the talk of the town, when the interpretation of the right to life has been expanded to include gender sensibilities, a quick disposal of such cases would have become mandatory by now. These are tough times and tough times demand a tougher policy discourse. The candle light marches and hour long discursive seminar on gender issues would be of absolutely no use if we don't get rid of this policy paralysis. The nation needs visionary lawmakers who think beyond the existing rhetoric and who are willing to endure enough pains to change the mindset of the people as far as women issues are concerned. Unless and until that happens we would continue fighting a losing battle!

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