Yet another Sexual Abuse case involving a Politician in UPby OPINIONEXPRESS.IN August 30, 2019 0 comments
Yet another case of sexual abuse involving a politician in UP should be the last straw for lawmakers
Hardly has the focus from the Unnao rape case shifted than a new controversy over the alleged sexual harassment of a 23-year-old law student by a BJP politician, no less than a former Union Minister of State for Home, is making headlines. Both the cases have some uncanny similarities as they involve high profile politicians from the ruling party and that, too, in Uttar Pradesh. It is former BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar in the Unnao case and a three-time former BJP MP, Swami Chinmayanand, in the latest Shahjahanpur sexual harassment case. In both instances, the victims feared for their lives for speaking the truth about their humiliation and the accused, with all the muscle, money power and political alignment on their side, have claimed being framed. Both the girls resorted to desperate measures to be taken seriously, the Unnao girl by threatening to immolate herself in front of the UP Chief Minister’s residence and the other girl through a viral video.
The Unnao rape victim and her lawyer are battling for their lives after an accident, which is being suspected as a deliberate conspiracy to eliminate her. And now that the complainant has gone missing in the Shahjahanpur case, reports surfacing that she has fled to Delhi, there is fear that she, too, could be intimidated. Already she is being defamed. So lest this becomes another blot on the nation’s consciousness, a group of Supreme Court lawyers has asked the Chief Justice to take suo motu cognisance of media reports and help her speak the truth. Chinmayanand has had a controversial past, being a rape accused in 2011, a decision still pending. The Unnao girl has been waiting for over two years despite the allocation of investigations to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Although sexual offences of this grave a nature have a timeline for resolution, the State prosecution has nothing to show yet. This wilful delay and the impunity enjoyed by the accused have anyway compromised evidence, witnesses and the fairness of the justice delivery system. And with political parties across the spectrum endorsing sexual offender-leaders, prizing their local organisational relevance above the rights of the girl child and women, victimisation of women has in popular perception become a scandal to be ignored rather than a gross persecution by powers that be. This, then, is not just travesty of justice but its total absence. At the heart of such cases lies the failure of the police, the Government as well as the law enforcement agencies who have failed to respect the criticality of the matter. They, perhaps, get more anxious about brushing the case under the carpet than ensuring a fair and speedy trial. In both cases, the girls’ families had a tough time to lodge an FIR with the police. Clearly, the reforms introduced after the infamous Nirbhaya incident, including legislative changes and the institution of fast-track courts for speedy prosecution of cases, has changed nothing on the ground. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures are proof: Reported rape cases have increased 88 per cent from 20,737 in 2007 to 38,947 in 2016. In comparison to the number of rape cases, conviction rates remain low. UP registers the second-highest number of rape cases after Delhi. Of the 38,947 rapes in the country, the second highest was from this State (4,816). As for all crimes against women, UP reported 14.5 per cent (49,262 out of 3,38,954 cases) of the total. Till we ensure closure of every violation of women and stop treating them as negotiating tools of power games, we cannot claim to be an equal and plural society. How long will we let our girls and women down?
Writer & Courtesy: The Pioneer