How releasing juvenile rapist shames Jyoti Singh

Kishwar Desai
Kishwar DesaiDec 19, 2015 | 11:34

How releasing juvenile rapist shames Jyoti Singh

She was young and full of dreams and hope. But she had an enormously brutal death. And the youngest among her rapists will now walk free, after just three years. So is that fair? Should we have realised this day would come earlier and not left our regrets till the last minute?

But then, of course, we also knew we had to follow the law, and none of us can make him receive retrospective punishment . There is after all, a court judgement.


An outpouring of recriminations reveal that, somehow,  this terrible case seems to have gone the wrong way, once more. Jyoti's parents feel, once more, that justice has not been done.

And as the day of his release comes closer perhaps more and more of us realise that an exception should have been made in this case. Not because we need retribution, an eye for an eye, a death for a death, but because an almost-18-year old is an almost-18-year-old. The fact that he was old enough to rape meant that he was an adult. He was neither thinking like a child nor behaving like one. There was no innocence, no accident in his act.

His devastatingly violent behaviour makes one wonder why we had not , as a country, fought harder to change the law before his sentencing. Was that possible? I remember how anxious we were that speedy justice be delivered. But in that speed did we then forget that we also needed to secure his reformation?

And with a deed so callous and cruel behind him, would this young rapist ever be able to settle down, after three years in jail? Going by his background and behaviour, didn't he also require prolonged and protracted psychiatric treatment? How else could he step out, "normally" and face the world?


There is, also, now some desire to wreak havoc in his life. There are those who want to name and shame him. This too stems from a need to ensure that men like him do not walk free within three years of assaulting and murdering a young woman! This is the ultimate attack perhaps on women in this country.

It almost seems to indicate that if any juvenile sexually assaults anyone, the matter is hardly worth punishing him over - in fact the sooner he is let out the better. But doesn't this leave the victim with a sense of being raped not just by the juvenile but by the entire legal system?

Yes, there are many who feel that if the juvenile rapist remains incarcerated (or worse), it will adversely affect the cases of the young men who are wrongly slapped with accusations of rape - when in fact they and the alleged victim are in a relationship. Rape is often a weapon used by irate parents who would want the relationship between their daughter and her adolescent boyfriend crushed into disrepute.

Once rape is established and the relationship is effectively over, the young man carries the guilt and is locked up, while the girl is yanked back into the family fold.


But this argument dies away in the face of the cruelty of the verdict in the case of Jyoti Singh. As the day of the release of the juvenile rapist approaches, the revulsion and horror simply grows.

Last updated: December 21, 2015 | 20:13
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