The nation has been mourning the brutal rape and murder of Dr Preeti Reddy (name changed) in Hyderabad. The grief has given way to insurmountable anger and many have come out to say that they are ‘ashamed as a society’. While the sentiment is understandable, is this reaction justified?
When people say that they are ‘ashamed as a society’ when a gruesome incident like this happens, they are intentionally or unintentionally diluting the crime of those who committed it. Why should society share the burden of a crime? Crores of people all over the world face social inequality, injustice, unfair circumstances and hardship. How many of them turn criminals? From Abdul Kalam to Oprah Winfrey to a ragpicker’s son who cleared AIIMS last year in Madhya Pradesh, we’ve lakhs of examples of people using their hardship as strength to achieve success in life. Did Jews or Kashmiri Pandits became terrorists after what they faced?
Be it terror attack or rape or murder, every time a crime happens, our media goes into socio-economic detailing of criminals to project them as victims. From Headmaster’s son Burhan Wani to Pulwama attacker was told to do push up by Indian Army during his school days to London attacker was bullied in school, the list is endless. This is how communists dilute a crime and portray the perpetrator of a heinous crime as a victim of social circumstances through their ecosystem for political gains.
The Quint wrote a very emotive article about Hyderabad rape case’s main accused Mohammad Arif. They wrote at length about how he is the sole breadwinner for the poor family, how he worked hard to pay for his mother’s illness, how his father is disabled, etc etc. All these are conscious attempts to create public sympathy the main accused. Same people will later file mercy petition for him and his other four accomplices.
The first reaction of the “woke” when a heinous crime happens is equally problematic. While the rage is justified, instead of having a nuanced discussion and trying to figure out the solution to the problem, their first reaction is to blame the patriarchy. While patriarchy is undoubtedly an issue, mindlessly connecting to rapes in the country is counterproductive. There are several countries like the middle east where the patriarchy is more embedded in the society than in India, however, the rapes in those countries are fewer.
So what causes rapes? Imagine this hypothetical situation, take 100 kids and make them grow in the same society under the same hardships and injustice and away from the influence of each other. Will all 100 of these turn criminals when they grow up? Some may, most won’t. Only those who are unfit to adjust to society resort to crimes and hence such people are not fit to be a part of the society and there comes the need for a robust and prompt judicial system.
Think about yourself for another example. Suppose you lose everything that you have. The job, bank balance, house. You go bankrupt and live off the streets. Will you still even think of behaving indecently with a woman, leave aside rape? Probably not. I won’t. Can never even think of it. But if someone has a mindset of a rapist, he’ll rape even if he gets all the luxuries a man can possibly possess.
To bring social circumstances into crimes is turning the criminal into the victim. Crimes are individual responsibility and society should not share its burden. The society, on the whole, does need to change to facilitate principles like respect for women, equal responsibility and the mindset that women are in no way inferior to men. However, the burden of guilt needs to rest with the criminal and his family. The burden of guilt, once shifted to the society, almost lessens the burden the criminal himself must carry for the rest of his life. The culprit should be punished in the worst possible manner so that other potential criminals think thousand times before attempting one themselves.