By Zafar Abbas
New Delhi, Sep 30 (IANS) As the pyre for the body of the Hathras gangrape victim was set alight amid heavy police presence in her hometown, a young journalist was seen arguing with a policeman. As the confrontation between the journalist and the policeman reaches its peak, the background fire, which was dimly lit in the mobile video, too blazed high at midnight.
Back in Delhi, various political parties and activists staged a protest trying to march towards UP Bhawan in the capital. At least 150 protesters were detained by Delhi Police. Not just on the roads, the cry for justice could be heard on various social media platforms as well where prominent personalities raised their voice against injustice.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra switched from Hindi to English several tmes while tweeting on the Hathras case.
“I was on the phone with the Hathras victim’s father when he was informed that his daughter had passed away. I heard him cry out in despair,” she tweeted. In a series of tweets and a video message, she was seen asking questions from the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and on the role of the state police.
As the comparisons were drawn, the brutality of the gang-rape was compared to the Nirbhaya case, the horrific incident of December 16, 2012 which evoked nationwide outrage. Visuals of protesters being dragged into police vans looked like a replica of what happened after Nirbhaya’s death.
Not just politicians and activists, several film stars and cricketers also raised questions on women’s security after condemning the Hathras incident.
“Angry & Frustrated! Such brutality in Hathras gangrape. When will this stop? Our laws and their enforcement must be so strict that the mere thought of punishment makes rapists shudder with fear! Hang the culprits. Raise ur voice to safeguard daughters and sisters-its the least we can do,” Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar tweeted.
Cricketer Virat Kohli also demanded justice for the victim and called the incident beyond cruelty.
“What happened in Hathras is inhumane and goes beyond cruelty. Hope the culprits of this heinous crime will be brought to justice,” Virat tweeted.
In November 2019, the gang-rape and murder of a 26-year-old veterinary doctor in Shamshabad, Telangana, sparked outrage across India. All four accused were shot dead by police after they allegedly tried to flee.
“Was naive to think that tough laws & capital punishment can deter rapists. Nirbhaya & Hathras have shattered this belief. Unless India reforms its medieval mindset towards women, nothing will change. This will require action & leadership, not cliches & partisanship,” former Union Minister Milind Deora said in a tweet.
Despite strict laws and an example that how Nirbhaya’s gangrape convicts were hanged, Delhi saw 908 rape cases till August 15 this year. In 2019, the rape cases reported during the same period were 1,402.
(Zafar Abbas could be reached at [email protected] )