Uma Bharti's way of punishing rapists is disturbing and unjust

The Union minister's suggestions sound more like poll rhetoric than genuine empathy for rape victims.

 |  3-minute read |   10-02-2017
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If the law can't do it, Uma Bharti will make her own laws. Yes, the Union minister for water resources and Ganga rejuvenation has some fiery ideas to punish rapists  — "They should be hung upside down and salt and chilly should be rubbed on their wounds until they scream. Mothers and sisters should watch so they can get closure."

She made the comments in reference to last year's gangrape of a mother and her daughter while travelling on the highway in Bulandshahr.

Although it's not clear if the BJP-led government in Centre is mulling any new rape laws on the lines of Bharti's suggestions, the minister has made some bold claims of subjecting accused to such torture during her stint as Madhya Pradesh chief minister.

In her eagerness to rip into the Samajwadi Party government during a campaign rally in Uttar Pradesh, the minister said: "I would tell the cops [in Madhya Pradesh] to hang the rapists upside down and beat them so hard that they would cry out. I would tell women to watch through windows of the police station."

uma-body_021017021735.jpg  The BJP minister had once described Narendra Modi as a "vinash purush".

When a police officer objected, she shared (details about her MP stint), "I told him people who behave like danav (demons) cannot have manavadhikar (human rights). Their heads should be cut off like Ravana's."

While laws across the world demand a (fair) trial before the quantum of punishment is decided for something as serious a crime as rape, Bharti doesn't shed light on the trial part of her "law", only the tribulations.

Besides reeking of the same barbarity and crudity that we associate with rape, Bharti's mindless suggestions also trivialise the severity of the crime in a country where crimes against women have reached epic proportions.

While the judicial courts are flooded with pending cases, there are no dearth of parallel courts (kangaroo courts) dispensing quick and fast justice (in different types of crimes) but with deadly consequence, across the country.

Jan adalats and khap panchayats have often been in news for primitive and arbitrary verdicts.

A strong supporter of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, Bharti is known for making controversial statements. The minister, who was out of the BJP at that time, she had once  described Narendra Modi as a "vinash purush" or man of destruction (in reference to Gujarat) — the same leader who she now praises. A seemingly enamoured Bharti recently said, "A 56-inch chest is needed to accomplish the things (in public interest) that bureaucrats are "reluctant" to carry out or initiate."

Notwithstanding the desperate need for "causes to outrage" during the poll season, Bharti's speedy justice system needs to be considered from all angles and consequences.

Her fiery speech seems to be more inspired by Bollywood-style "seedha hisab" (direct justice) than genuine empathy for rape victims.

Also read: Bombay HC's remark that rape victim 'used to do all dirty things' is depressing

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