The world’s press has rightly drawn attention to this story coming out of India. “Thousands have signed a petition to stop two Indian sisters being gang-raped and then paraded around a village naked with blackened faces as punishment for their brother’s ‘crimes’. “Amnesty said the older sister has filed a petition before India’s Supreme Court seeking protection for her family so they can return home.”
But why would the older sister have to file a petition with the Supreme Court seeking protection? Why hasn’t the law of the land given that village an urgent visit to round up the council for its own crime against the sisters for the judgment it has made against them?
If the Khap Panchayat village council ordered Meenakshi Kumari, 23, and her sister, to be raped and humiliated,” as reported by Sky News and as reported by much of the world’s media, then isn’t India embarrassed by it?
It seems India has a long way to go on the social and moral front. How can women be treated in such a barbaric way in an “India (that) is set to emerge as the world’s fastest-growing major economy by 2015 ahead of China, as per the recent report by The World Bank. India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to grow at 7.5 per cent in 2015, as per the report.”
“The improvement in India’s economic fundamentals has accelerated in the year 2015 with the combined impact of strong government reforms, . . .” But shouldn’t India also be paying as much attention to the very seriously needed social and moral reforms?
In civilised countries the law deals appropriately with such moral perversity, and when it fails, the free press can express our outrage for us, and force governments to bring justice to bear.
The BBC reports “that economic progress is hampered by corruption, widely regarded as endemic and engulfing every level of politics and society,” and that “the vast mass of the rural population remains impoverished, and that “lives continue to be influenced by the ancient Hindu caste system, which assigns each person a place in the social hierarchy.” And although discrimination on the basis of caste is now illegal and various measures have been introduced to empower disadvantaged groups and give them easier access to opportunities – such as education and work, this case and other rape cases tell us India has a long way to go in providing protection and justice for large sections of its citizens.
Despite the publicity given to the 2012 Delhi Gang Rape and the Government of India’s subsequent reform to “its penal code for crimes of rape and sexual assault”, this case suggests there are still citizens in India who ignore its laws that go against their traditions, and openly and blatantly carry out such barbaric treatment towards women.
It should not be up to Amnesty International to call “on the Indian authorities to ensure the safety of the young woman and her 15-year-old sibling.” It is the perpetrators of this crime against humanity who should be fearing the law of the land as a consequence of their own judgments against these young ladies.