“Now, should we treat women as independent agents, responsible for themselves? Of course. But being responsible has nothing to do with being raped. Women don’t get raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped because they weren’t careful enough. Women get raped because someone raped them.” – Jessica Valenti
India is land where women are worshipped as gods and have been respected over the centuries. Yet, again the country witnessed a horrific incident of a gang rape of a nun on March 14, 2014 in Christian missionary school in Ranaghat, about 80 km northeast of Kolkata, West Bengal. The 70 year old nun tried to prevent a group of seven to eight bandits from robbing the Christian missionary school. However, the dacoits ransacked the church and fled with eight to nine lakh rupees after sexually assaulting the nun. The dacoits were caught on the CCTV and the Police have released the footage to trace those culprits.
Condemning the incident, Mamata Banerjee government ordered a probe by Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and promised a “swift and strong action”. The nun was shifted to a hospital after the horrific incident, where her situation was declared as stable by the medical practitioners. A leading newspaper quoted Ashok Biswas, Bishop saying that he would like to name her Sister Mary because of her courage and resilience. She had forgiven the offenders and had also asked to pray, including the robbers”. She has agreed to give her statement before the authorities.
After three days of search, the police confirmed that seven Bangladeshi immigrants had entered in India by paying a bribe to a BSF jawan. Out of these suspects, two of them are said to be involved in the gang rape of the nun, whereas others are involved with international gangs indulged into cheating and robbing people. Salim Sheikh, the prime accused of the case, was arrested from a slum in Mumbai. The accused have been booked under sections 399 (making preparations to commit dacoity), 402 (assembling for the purpose of committing dacoity), 120B (being party to a criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, sections 25, 54 and 59 of Arms Act, 1959 and relevant section under the passport Act, 1967 for illegal immigration.
So what actually went wrong the present situation? The foremost thing that went wrong was the entry of these illegal immigrants into the country. The leading newspapers report that a bribe of INR 2000 was paid to the BSF jawan to let the Bangaldeshi nationals enter into the territory of India. There approximately one crore Bangladeshi immigrants residing in India. It should be noted that BSF has a very high attrition rate and the jawans are very under paid, leading to such immoral practices. Secondly, it took a period of three days to catch hold of the suspects, even when the authorities had themselves stipulated a dead line of forty eight hours and when their identity was revealed on the CCTV camera and a mobile phone of one of the accused was found on the crime scene. And further that, till now only four of the accused have been detained and rest are on the run.
This inhumane act raise many questions. The first being, why was the nun raped? Is it the societal mind set that dictates the conduct of a women or is it that people who indulge into such activities are themselves of victims of similar situations or they have taken up the task of reforming the society on their shoulders and have decided to teach the women of this country, a lesson (as they say) of moral values. The situation here is too serious and should be deliberated upon by each individual of this country. In my opinion, the nun was brutally raped and there cannot be any reason or justification for such an act. India is country where women has been respected from the time immoral therefore, considering women as a tool for pleasure is completely flawed and the so called ‘learned people’ have their own theories that woman should not be out at ‘unusual hours’ or should be dressed ‘decently’ or should not be under the ‘influence of toxic substances’. If I may bring to light the fact that, women are raped not because they are wearing short clothes or roaming around at unusual hours; they are raped because such men have a very narrow and sick mind set. The rape is an act of violence and not sex. The argument here is, that only 10% of the rapes are committed by strangers and 90% of the rapes are committed by known men; rapes do take place in the broad day light and they become victim to such heinous crimes even if they are dressed in a burkha! Some people even advocate a theory that the girl should be more cautious or they should have taken recourse to some precautionary steps in order to safeguard themselves. In this regard, even if the girl fails to take a precautionary step, it does not give a right to the men to satisfy their lust.
There have been rumours that the 17 year old Juvenile in the Delhi Gang Rape case was subject to sexual harassment in his childhood and therefore as a result of that, he was provoked to do such a barbaric act. Just for an instance, taking that situation to be true, I fail to understand such a content because when the person is himself been subject to such an act, how can he even think of doing the same to the individual rather, he should be more humane and should have abstained from doing so. In addition to this, Mukesh Singh the convict in the above case, in his interview in the BBC documentary, shows no sign of regret and further states that he committed rape just to teach her a lesson that she should not be out with male friends after the sunset. Such people perceive that there is a responsibility on their shoulders to teach the women of this country a lesson, a lesson which suggests that the women are supposed to be within the four walls of the home and the only thing they are fit for is to undertake house hold chores.
In summary, I hope that the nun gets justice. The only way towards the ‘violence against the women’ free society is through educating the young minds and through changing the mind set of the people. Till that time comes, we could at least stop blaming the victim that rape was committed because of her fault. It is never the victim’s fault.