Monday, March 27, 2006

The tale of two rapes

The high-profile rape case involving the Kaslival scion has evoked the debate of the ever increasing threat to women in Indian cities. Right after this incident, there was another case of a minor girl raped by four teenagers in Mira Road.
In the first case, Mr. Abhishek Kaslival (26), offered a lift to the victim (not naming due to various reasons)(52) around 2:00 AM from Colaba to Mumbai central but instead took her to Worli Shriram Mills (owned my his father) and allegedly raped her. The second incident took place in Mira Road, a distant suburb of Mumbai, where four teenagers gang-raped a class IX student in one of the accused’ house and raped one after another. The girl was invited to attend the boy’s sister’s birthday party.
Some interesting facets of this case follows;
In both the cases, the victims were intoxicated before the rape took place. Kaslival offered the drink while on car and the Mira road girl took some juice at her assailant’s home. Both drinks were mixed with alcohol/drug to make them unconscious.
Initially Ambuj Kaslival, the father of Abhishek vehemently opposed the charges and accused the victim of immoral traffic, but as one after another facts came out, he clamped up. In Mira road case, the mother denied her son’s involvement in the case and said “he doesn’t have any sister and the girl knows it. Then how could she come for the b’day party?”
Kaslival Rape case;
1. What was she doing in a known trouble spot at around 2:00 AM? She said she was waiting for a friend but is it a good time for a rendezvous?
2. Why did she accept a lift from a total stranger when she could have easily got a cab to go to Mumbai Central which was safer?
3. Why did she accept the drink? Didn’t she know the dangers?
4. Why she didn’t raise an alarm when it was apparent the car wasn’t going in the right direction?
Mira Road Rape case;
1. When she entered the house, couldn’t she notice the absence of other guests / his parents?
2. Did they watch a pornographic movie together before the rape as alleged?
3. Why did she (all of 15 years) chose to go to the police even before consulting her mother?
This is in no way to justify their actions or discredit the victims. But a few questions that my conscience raised. As my fellow blogger Druv wrote in Ashley’s blog, the judicial mindset is biased and sympathized towards the victim and see things in that light. There were enough incidents, which is sub-judice hence I can’t comment on them. The prominent one is Preety Jain accusing Madhur Bhandarkar (a well-know bollywood director) of rape. It is pretty obvious that she is taking revenge for not keeping his promises.
What if some girl had sex with her consent and later accusing of rape? If there a definite way to prove rape? May justice prevail in the end, but the media highlights the accusations only. If one is acquitted, it will be a back page item. The pride of an individual is completely destroyed in this mindless sensationalizing of news. His life, family, career and name could be irreparably damaged before the final verdict.
I was watching one of the news channel and they were showing the kaslival Rape “replay” by showing a blurred video of a lady and a man in a Mercedes. It is obvious that they shot it with professional actors, but it is highly un-ethical to do. If the court acquits the accused, would they re-shoot it and show? I think the verdict is of no importance. They have deemed he is guilty.
There has to be a limit for everything. The over-eager media has to exercise some restraint before they do something like this. Last few years we saw the judicial activism as every person who got some grievance ran to court. Is it now Media-over activism age? Just keep in mind that, the media has the power to make or break. But don’t break someone before he/she is proved guilty. Let the judiciary do the trial.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Travelling salesmen of BJP

Mr. Lal Krishna Advani lapped up the first opportunity to turn a vicious incident to a vote gathering exercise. This time around he declared not one, two Yatras, to gather momentum against the ‘minoritiysm’ of the central government. Ever since his Pakistan visit and the subsequent Jinnah controversy, he was on the look out for an opportunity to turn himself into his old self, a hardcore Hindutva Advocate. His failed experiment with soft-hindutva failed miserably and it threatened to end his political career. Now it’s back to where it has all started. The Ram Yatras and the Babri Majid demolition saw BJP grow to a big player in Indian political parody. Advani must be hoping for a repeat of history.
The Varanasi bombing has set a perfect stage for his comeback. It’s the old ‘We Vs Them’. A place of Hindu worship has been bombed allegedly by Islamists. And a few days ago the muslim mobilization against the publication of Prophet’s cartoon turned out to be a show of strength of the community and turned violent at a few places. This has a cascading effect on BJP and its think-tank. Not only Muslims are a force to reckon with, but they started to recognize it. This doesn’t augur well for BJP and hence they are embarking on the old tried and tested formula, The Yatras and Hindutva.
It may not be a co-incident that after every Yatra, there are communal skirmishes followed and some places it turned violent. Since He has decided about the Yatras(travels, loosely translated) to sell hardcore hindutva, it is just to doubt the intentions behind it. Is it an attempt to try what has been done in Gujarat? As I wrote a year back, Gujarat was a test case. They found it successful and now won’t hesitate to repeat it elsewhere. Where else to start the strategy than UP, the state which sends most MP’s to Delhi?
As I was speaking to one of my friends, S(he) asked me about the bombings and who might be behind it? I chose to answer the obvious, the terrorists, but then s(he) was raised another query which is still ringing in my ears? Is it the same forces who are now protesting? Are they trying to create a situation similar to Godhra? Just read the enquiry report of Godhra train carnage together . The findings of the committee is relevant here. The commission said that, the fire started from inside the train, NOT OUTSIDE. And thousands of people killed in the ensuing riot.
Police have zeroed in on the usual suspects, Lashkar-e-Toiba, and they owned the responsibility, through a fictitious outfit. But I now remember a protagonist in a Malayalam Novel, written by famous author Vaikom Muhammed Bashir, the author of many a bestseller.
His name is “Ettukaali Mammonju” (Spider Mammonju). In his village, whatever happened, be it a theft, a rape or an act of bravery, he suddenly owns up it by saying “Athu Njammala”. Now LeT just remind me of him.

Register your Day fast.

It seems the days of a year are fast becoming insufficient. At the rate each day is dedicated to a particular cause, may be a couple of years later we will be celebrating multiple events on same day. Like Christmas & World Marriage day!! Recently there has been an addition to the long list of commemorative days. The top nephrologists of the world got together and to raise awareness about kidney diseases, they decided to celebrate “WORLD KIDNEY DAY” on every 2nd Thursday of March. We already have a lot of this. Aids day, women’s day, heart day, no-smoking and now that long list added one more day to it. So celebrating these days will spread more awareness about it? If that’s case, then why Aids is spreading like wildfire? I am waiting for a day called world penis day (since there is no World Men’s day this is absolutely a necessity) and followed by world vagina day (spreads awareness about diseases that infects these body parts) and leg day, arm day (to generate awareness about disease like cuts/burns) . I have prepared a list of probable organs that qualify for a day dedicated to it.
World Nerve Day – to cool one’s nerves
World Bath Day – spreading awareness about bathing and it’s effects
World Hair Day – specially for the hairy type
World Skin day – How can we forget the biggest organ?
World Penis Day – Come on! This is an automatic qualifier!
World Vagina Day – How can this be left out?
And gradually we will have a day dedicated for each and every organ! Funny isn’t it?
An incomplete list is available Here .
So if you want register a day in one of the organs. Or this 365 days may not be enough to include everything.

Wet summer

India is experiencing some strange weather. At this time of year, rains are like a snowstorm in hell. But since uesterday, west and north india received unseasonal showers along with lightning and thunder.
Today Mumbai, usually above 32 C at this time, woke up to a cool morning and overcast sky. By 8:30 AM it started to drizzle accompanied by lightning. Office goers were caught unaware and most of them got wet since they were not carrying any umbrellas.
At the time of writing, it is still overcast and and sporadic showers reported. Right after noon, it rained and now though subsided, still going on.
Wonder does it have something to do with global warming and climatic patterns like la nino. Or just some depression in bay of bengal?