Time and again we revisit this question.
And time and again we dodge it.
Because we are still not able to convince ourselves that we should make a conscious decision of ending someone’s life for doing something that is naturally expected of him.
So we hear multiple comments on how ‘boys will be boys’ and ‘she should enjoy it’ (I mean really?!) and ‘a little boyish mistake’.
Take the latest example, which is simply haunting at various levels. A fast-track Court in Chandigarh, India sentenced two men to life imprisonment for the rape and impregnation of their 10-year-old niece.
These two men were the maternal uncles of this poor kid. They were 38 and 44 years old.
Would you still regard it as their ‘boyish mistake’?
The parents of the little girl were shocked to find that their daughter was pregnant. No parent of a 10-year-old would expect that! The child was, however, denied by the highest court in India to undergo an abortion because:
- She was pregnant beyond the legally permitted period for abortion.
- Her health could be at a risk if the abortion was performed. (This second reason was made more prominent only after widespread rage across the country that made the Courts and the Government re-look at the abortion laws.)
The girl does not know that she was pregnant. She was told that she had to be operated for kidney stones.
She doesn’t even understand that what her uncles did with her was rape and is a crime of highest kind.
But she is only 10 today. She will grow up tomorrow. She will understand that what had happened to her was rape.
So should we wait till then? That she one day realizes that these unfortunate experiences have affected her psychologically and has scarred her for life?
Or is it again the question of the value of life? And whose life is more valuable?
The patriarchal hedonistic larger population would declare that even giving a life sentence to these men is not fair – we are wasting an important part of the workforce of the country. And the girl can be easily removed from their company or can even better be taken away – they have already marked her as a burden to her parents.
This thought process is ingrained in the minds of more than 70% of the population of India. The rest are usually shunned as liberals and modernistic upper class.
With life-imprisonment comes the possibility of parole and reduction of sentence. And that too is granted by the courts in most cases.
The death sentence is the only way to root out this thought process. To root out persons so immersed in their own hedonistic pleasures that they do not value the life of another. To root out the possibility of them ever being able to pass on this culture to another.
To maybe create a fear in another perpetrator who is standing behind the little girl in the lane and is planning to do exactly the same.