We are publishing below an article by a close sympathiser of the ICC in India, responding to the notorious rape and murder of a young student in Delhi. It is followed by comments by two other women.
They decided to marry in February, 13. They were returning after enjoying a cinema show. They were waiting for transport on a city highway in Delhi. It was not dead of night. It was only 9.30 p.m. at that time. But just at that evening hour for metropolitan Delhi that heart rending, most pathetic, painful incident took place. They boarded an empty bus; just after getting on it they realized their mistake. But they had already been entrapped by the miscreants. There was no other way out. Six young miscreants got on the bus, beat the partner of the unfortunate girl severely and made him unconscious. Then all those beasts jumped on the helpless girl and sexually assaulted her one after another. Not only that. They struck forcefully the lower abdomen portion of her body with a heavy rod. This damaged seriously many organs in that portion. The inhuman activity did not stop there. The miscreants made her unconscious and tried to throw her out and kill her by running her over. However she was still alive, somehow enduring all such severe sexual and physical assaults. She was taken to a city hospital in a seriously injured and traumatized condition. After several days spent in the most advanced AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) and several surgical operations she was transferred to a hospital in Singapore in a most unstable condition. There the hapless girl passed away on 26th December, 2012.
Perhaps that extremely barbarous incident has violently upset the human essence of the inner world of everyone. As a member of the species Homo Sapiens I am also extremely pained, perturbed and saddened. As a woman I am being obsessed with a sense of tremendous helplessness and lack of security. Since 16th December for quite a number of days I turned my eyes willingly away from the TV set or the newspapers. As if I was trying to flee away from all this. Tears are welling up in the eyes while I am trying to write this. Again and again I am automatically seeing myself in the pathetic condition of that hapless medical student of 23 years. Her unarticulated messages of unlimited mental pain and trauma and protest against the assault seem to appear before me in the form of clearly visible material forms. I am trying to realize the depth of her pain and trauma. Many people are eager to see the photograph of that unfortunate victim of unlimited barbarism. I think of telling them to hold the mirror in front of their own faces. This will enable them to see her photograph.
Every moment our feeling, emotion and creativity is being raped. We cannot transmit the experience and education that we want to the students. We cannot build our life in the way we like. We cannot see the world with the form and content in which we want to see it. This constant suppression of feeling, desire and dream is nothing but another name of rape to me. After struggling against death for ten days the girl passed away. The central government adorned her posthumously with some well chosen and calculated adjectives to show its ‘humanitarian’ concern.
In the heart of Delhi, the Indian capital, hundreds of thousands of aggrieved people, particularly the youth, assembled in the streets spontaneously and demonstrated against this act of unimaginable barbarism. The demand for exemplary punishment for the culprits has been raised from all quarters. Maybe they will be punished very severely. A media hype will be launched by the government, its ‘scholars’ and ‘experts’. TV channels will be involved in competition in holding talk shows, delivering some nice ‘shoulds’ and ‘should nots’. All this will come to an end sooner or later. This heinous act of barbarism will culminate in ‘history’ one day. And that history will again be repeated, I believe.
Long accumulated anger and grievances burst out in the form of spontaneous, massive demonstrations in response to this incident. Lots of people participated in the silent candle light march and thus articulated their helplessness. Different types of reactions have also been expressed from various other quarters. The leader of the RSS (Rastriya Swayam Sevak Sangha), an ultra rightist militia organization, has said that the western lifestyle of women is responsible for such incidents. A spiritual guru, Asharam Bapu said “she could have stopped the attack if she had chanted God’s name and fallen on the feet of the attackers”. Last year an incident of rape took place in the Park Street area of Calcutta. At that time the government in West Bengal run by a woman chief minister remarked that the character of the woman who went out alone to celebrate the New Year at dead of night was bad.
But in any case there is no doubt that the incident is most contemptible and we cannot but denounce it thoroughly and as strongly as possible. But is it the first? Can we classify the incidents of rape into more or less important? All incidents of rape are equally contemptible and have to be equally condemned. According to the 2007 report of NCRB (National Crime Record Board) the number of incidents of rape in India is 21,397 whereas that for the USA is 89,241. But a correct assessment and comparison is not possible on the basis of numbers alone. In a country like India where women are held responsible for being raped, many women prefer not reporting the incidents of sexual assault. On the other hand such complaints from those raped women who dare to go the police station are not very often duly recorded by the police officers. In the last month a 17 year old girl from a remote village in Punjab went to the police station to lodge a complaint after being raped. The police refused to record that complaint. After this the girl committed suicide. So we can easily understand that the number of incidents of rape in India will be much more. On the average an incident of rape takes place every 20 minutes in this country. In 2011 numbers of brutal assaults on women were reported in Uttar Pradesh, and according to the report of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) the majority of those assaulted were poor women from remote areas, many of them Dalits (“untouchables”). Political leaders and parties use these incidents solely for political gain.
In spite of all this it seems from the reaction of the government and the political spectrum as if this incident of rape in Delhi has taken place for the first time in India. All leaders and ministers have at present articulated apparently very humanitarian reactions. They have all demanded punishment for the culprits. Chief minister Shila Dikshit of the ruling Congress party has said that she did not have the courage to meet the victim. Sushama Swaraj, a BJP leader, has asserted that the rapists should be hanged. As if hanging the rapists will put an end to the incidents of rape in the future. I am confused. I am not clear about what sort of punishment should be demanded for the culprits. Moreover to whom should we demand this punishment? Can those people who are themselves drowned in the sea of corruption, crime and falsehood give any justice?
In December 2009 a Russian woman was raped by a state politician, and Santaram Naik, a Congress M.P. from Goa made a vigorous defence of the rape, blaming the victim. In 2011 Bikram Singh Brahma, a Congress M.P. from Assam was accused of rape in the Chirang District. In 2004 in the Manipur region in the north east of India, Indian soldiers picked up Manorama, a thirty two year old woman from home at dead of night, took her forcibly to the nearby military camp, raped her and then killed her. Later on it was reported by the military authority that she was killed in a military ‘encounter’. She was alleged to have been associated with an armed extremist group. The state and government authority is never tired of singing hymns of praise for its military as it is said to be engaged in the defense of the country and security of the people. The military is depicted to be patriotism incarnate by the authorities and the media! This patriotism is nothing but a powerful weapon of the capitalist ruling class to keep the capitalist system intact. That is why this very military is raping and killing innocent women in the name of ‘encounters’ in various parts of India wherever there is a strong protest movement against the exploitation and repression of the authority. Is there anybody who can be in the seat of judgement in these cases of rape and murder by the state’s armed forces? Is it possible that the culprits will punish themselves? Is any true justice for the exploited and oppressed people possible in this social system? If a decision to punish the culprits is taken at all that will solely depend on the calculation of political gain or loss and the social status of the culprits. There will never be any punishment solely for the tremendous humiliation and mental pain caused to the raped women! The key to the continued existence of the system is the destruction of all human feelings, sentiments, social solidarity and confidence. So is it possible for persons in the top positions of authority to bother about such ‘insignificant’ incidents of rape of unknown, innocent helpless women by its own beloved military personnel?
This extreme degradation of human values is nothing but the manifestation of the advanced phase of decadence of the present day world capitalist system. We can not keep the greenery of the tree intact for any length of time, a tree whose roots have rotted, simply by sprinkling water on the leaves. In the same way it is not possible for the social system and its different parts, whose roots are also rotten, to do anything correct and justified. Human values are always being raped by this system. So the roots of the various problems such as rape, barbarous torture in police custody, custodial or ‘encounter’ death, or terrorist attacks very often lie deep inside the whole socio-economic, political, cultural structure and the dynamics of this society passing through its advanced phase of decadence. This started in the beginning of the twentieth century. This system is absolutely unable to provide the young generation with any positive orientation and perspective. So in the midst of their increasing unemployment, poverty, misery and mental agony sexual perversion turns out to be the only orientation. The very media, print as well as electronic, which is highlighting this incident of gang rape so much, organizing protest meetings against it and delivering high sounding sermons for respecting human values and rights of women, doesn’t hesitate to make the physical features and postures of women attractive commodities for more profit in their pages for advertisement. These contradictory roles prove in reality that they are solely concerned with their sordid self interest and nothing else. This may be called ‘media prostitution’.
These incidents manifest nothing but the decomposition of the whole system. We say very often that there are two alternatives in the world today: socialism or barbarism. We are drowning more and more deeply in the expanding ocean of barbarism. Is that not enough for us still now? So now the only remaining alternative is socialism. We have no other way but to fight for the achievement of the goal of socialism with all our physical and mental capability, time and energy. This is the only way to save humanity from total destruction and put an end to all sorts of exploitation, repression, sexual assaults and violence, not only against women but all human beings.
K: Was there any necessity for sending the gang raped and seriously injured girl to a Singapore hospital in the most unstable condition? Some doctors of AIIMS have pointed out that the arrangements for adequate and effective medical treatment are equally good or better in AIIMS. Is it not a cruel mystification of the Indian government and ruling class to show that they are very concerned and worried about the worsening health condition of the hapless rape victim and arranging for better foreign treatment? This shifting of the girl in the much worsened condition of her health might have contributed to her death. Why was she not transferred to a much better hospital in Europe or USA in the very beginning? It cannot be anything but a mystification. Everything is being done for the political gain of the ruling class. It is a very traumatic and tragic situation. Not only are the women being victimized but those socially related with the women such as father, husband, brothers are also being victimized and seriously injured or murdered by the miscreants.
The ruling class needs to maintain a very close relation with antisocial elements. Political parties, police and anti-social elements are in a close alliance. There is a crisis of the heart everywhere and it is deteriorating each passing day. Lack of security of not only women and young girls but all working class people is increasing. This insecurity has intensified so much that women do not want to have girl child. The ruling class cannot serve humanity in any way today. They cease to remain human beings once they are in power and authority. So it makes no difference whether the ruling person is a man or a woman.
R (daughter of K): Being a girl I am always worried about the situation of insecurity. Once I thought that if there is some companion with me when I go out for study this can save me but the reality is that our companion is also being attacked by criminals and they are being attacked first and seriously injured, made unconscious or murdered before attacking the real target, the helpless girl.