India has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest number of rape crimes in the world, and that seems to be a problem with no solutions in the near future.
After every incident that captures the nation’s attention, there are calls for stringent measures to deter criminals. There are vociferous debates on TV channels, protests, candle marches and other methods of expressing our collective anguish. Once the anger subsides, the millions of other cases that escape the media’s radar continue to tarnish our national conscience, until another shameful incident comes to light, and the country is once again demanding the death penalty for the rapists and for the cases to be adjudged in a time-bound manner.
As horrendous as the problem itself is, our response to it seldom involves introspection and rationality. In a state of heightened emotions people often call for retribution, including public executions in the flawed and naïve belief that it would act as a deterrent. This belief resonates with the political parties who seek to exploit public anger for their benefit. Sadly, it appears that even the judiciary has succumbed to this popular, but unfounded belief.