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TOI EDIT-Unending Trauma Eerily similar cases of women attacked and set on fire reveal the rot runs deep

December 06, 2019 05:43 AM

COURTESYTOI DEC 6

Unending Trauma
Eerily similar cases of women attacked and set on fire reveal the rot runs deep
A woman raped, shot dead and burnt in Buxar, a rape survivor set on fire by five men in Unnao, and a woman’s charred body discovered in Malda are among the unfortunate tidings of this week even before the nationwide outrage over the gang rape-murder of a veterinary doctor in Hyderabad could subside. That all these victims were set on fire is not the sole link between the crimes. The more disconcerting commonality is the climate of impunity that makes a mockery of law and order and the criminal justice delivery system.

Among those who allegedly attacked the Unnao rape survivor were also two men, out on bail, accused of raping her. The incident recalls the other shocking rape case and attempt to eliminate witnesses reported from Unnao in which ex-BJP strongman Kuldeep Sengar is an accused. These must serve as a wakeup call to UP police and judiciary. Where accused are out on bail, police, prosecution and courts must ensure that rape survivors and important witnesses get protection. Alternatively, trials must be completed swiftly, which rarely happens in India given the high case pendency. The lack of credible witness protection and meandering court proceedings embolden influential accused to subvert justice.


Last December Supreme Court had directed Centre and state governments to implement a witness protection scheme within one year. SC must ascertain how many states have implemented it. In recent days, Hyderabad, Ludhiana and Nagpur police have responded to the outcry over women’s safety by announcing helplines and a drop home facility for women at night. While these will help some women, emphasis must be on ensuring that streets are safe so that women can go out unaccompanied at all hours. Right now it feels feel like an unending onslaught on women and this is a shameful position for any civilised society to be in

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