Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tribal Council Law

"We kept begging them. We begged with folded hands, but they would not listen. They dragged her away to the forest."
Mother of 14-year-old rape victim

In a small village in Jharkhand state in Bokaro district, a man carried out the instruction of the village council. He fulfilled his honourbound duty by dragging a young girl into a nearby forest and raping her. The young girl's brother was blamed for a sex assault, so the council felt honour justified that the husband of the woman said to have been molested by the girl's brother should rape his 14-year-old sister.

The husband of the woman purported to have been molested by the brother was only too pleased to carry out the sentence.

"They attacked her in retaliation and we are taking this case very seriously", said local police official Jitendra Singh. Two men have been arrested in this latest case of rape. The girl belongs to the Gulgulia community, and in India's rigid caste system is near the bottom of the social and privilege heap. "It is a barbaric incident that took place. We will not spare the accused for it", said Jharkhand chief secretary, Sajal Chakraborty.

Only a week earlier an Indian lawmaker had revealed the deep-seated contempt in which the safety and security of Indian women is held within the country. In addressing followers of his Trinamool Congress party, Tapas Pal, in instigating sentiment against the rival Communist party had this to say:
"If [the Communists] try to kill and intimidate our workers ... I will not spare them. I will let loose my men to rape your women", he said, his statement filmed on a smartphone.

Mr. Pal later confessed to a "gross error of judgement and deeply insensitive", as an apology after criticism was expressed by his own wife, and his party leadership disowned him. But not entirely. Trinamool Leader Mamata Banerjee, one of India's most powerful women, while criticizing Mr. Pal for his "big blunder" blocked any moves for him to be removed.

Socialist Samajwadi Party Leader Mulayam Singh Yadav quipped "boys will be boys" in discussing sentences for rape, during the recent election campaign. In the resort state of Goa, a minister said the best way to stop women from being harassed on the beach was to ban bikinis. As simple(-minded) as that.

In the rape of the 14-year-old ordered by the village council, the two men police arrested were the village headman and the main rape suspect. The girl's brother, on the other hand, has also been arrested on charges of molestation.

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