Modern life is listless without news, known through the newspapers or the round-the- clock- running radio or electronic media. But for quite some time, one may tend to shudder at the thought of reading-viewing or listening to news. The situation has come to such a pass that people are always apprehensive what horrible news they will meet on each page of the papers or in each byte of electronic media. The canvas is highly chequered. Crimes, cruel acts and spate of remorseless killings of hundred and odd types of aberrations and distortions known to mankind, involve victims and assailants of all ages, of all sections of life and people from among celebrities to pavement dwellers, armies to civilians, of any place, city or village, in the north or south, west or east in the country. These seem not to take care of any human relationship, father rapes his daughter, son kills his mother, mother her daughter, husband kills wife, wife her husband. a friend kills another. These are no isolated events any more, but go on one after another, each day with newer and ghastlier means, going even beyond all conventional ways or conceptions.
Both crimes and criminals are swelling in number . In still alarming a way, ordinary persons with no criminal background are getting actively involved in ghastly incidents. As a result remorseless killing, brute atrocities on women-children-minorities–Dalits – all kinds of horrendous barbarism are creating such a situation in which the entire civilized world seems to have been thrown into a shambles, threatening to crumble down any moment.
Gory incidents run on ceaselessly :
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of India registers about 30,000 murders annually for nearly a decade. But figures mean nothing on face of the grievousness of the situation, for instance when somebody reads a news of a young professor throwing off his ailing mother from the roof for property, or son and daughter –in-law murdering a 52-year old father, beheading the body and cutting it into pieces in a small town. It appears to go beyond comprehension, when one learns a lady, with or without accomplices, kills her daughter. It may tend to drive a man insane to read in morning newspapers about several accounts in each case a wife or a husband enjoying an illicit affair, neatly planning to kill his or her spouse to make the path clear. Quarrels among friends or even on streets are nothing abnormal. But it appears, these days even such altercations take ugly turn to end in gruesome murder with the killer walking out without any qualm or remorse. Thus a CCTV footage showed three students of a well known school in the capital, aged 15-16, beating up a 14-year-old fellow student to death inside the school toilet. In another case quarrel between two classmates, both Secondary examinees, went hot, one of them killed the other and left the place to sit calmly for the examination. In another hellish incident 3 friends bought a ‘da’, a sharp cutter, got drunk and then two of them slashed the throat of the third to kill him, all in a sequel of a quarrel, the likes of which often crop up between friends. Similarly one may be astounded to know that after an altercation between the bus conductor and his helper on one side and a passenger on the other, nothing unusual, the former killed the passenger and threw the body out on to the paddy fields beside the road. A female co-passenger informed the family. It was alleged that the police did not receive the FIR. A frenzied mob beat a sixty-year old man to death in a city when he had tried to save his son involved in an altercation on collecting water from water tanker, or a dalit youth was murdered with multiple (as many as 50) stabbing on a street in the capital by a group of around 20 people apparently for having saved a child from being thrashed by two persons for spoiling their dress with colour on holi. More than a decade back, the country woke up one morning to learn of the horror of a village on the outskirt of the capital, where body parts of dead children and young adults were traced to a house. It was revealed that the servant working there had been raping and killing women, often minors, even eating their body parts. It was impossible that he could carry on with his crime without the knowledge of the owner. The country could only wonder how could these happen under what circumstances and with what state of mind.
Honour killing has tended to become a favourite term for a section of people; in such cases a father does not hesitate to kill his daughter and throw the body in front of neighbour’s house, brother along with his friends kills his sister, and likewise.
Lastly, what a child’s play murder has become, comes out from the acts of a professional killer, who commits a crime, gets behind the bars, soon comes out to commit a fresh one. So far the last, he killed a man at point blank range in a market place and escaped safely. Equally rampant are political murders, as politics today has become bereft of any values or ethics. So even for petty causes, rivals even from within the same party do not hesitate to kill any opponent.
Gory incidents :
Atrocities on women
Atrocities on women are also constantly on the rise. As the NCRB records show, rape statistics in India surpassed all estimates with a six-fold increase and kidnapping for ransome going to the extent of killing doubled in three decades till 2007, for which data are released; obviously in the decade following the situation turned worse to be sure, instead of improving. Financial Express reporting a more updated information (26 February 2018) holds that such incidents in India have risen in the first 45 days of 2018 as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year; murder and rapes see a spike. The Hindu also reports in December 2017 that there is a spurt in rape cases, with states of M.P. and U. P. topping the list. Interesting, though pathetic, fallacy is that despite having a new law and a new government since 2014, the conviction rate in rape cases has gone down substantially in Delhi and elsewhere. In domestic violence, killing centring round dowry are typical for India. Though made illegal in 1961 and despite all changes in political leadership, this Indianized characteristic continues apace. Tragic consequence is that the brides are tortured, even murdered by the in-laws, but are seldom rescued by their parents for fear of ostracism and social stigma. For a decade from 2005 to 2015, an average of 22 women, died each day in dowry-related cases. In 2015 alone, 7,634 women were killed over dowry, data show. The country also witnesses one of the highest female infanticide incidents in the world and a nearly 25 % rise in 2016 over the previous year in human trafficking; the government data putting the figure at almost 20,000 women and children as victims (Reuters, 9 March 2017).
These are nevertheless dry figures. The reality is much more blood-strewn and grisly. Every Indian remembers the name Nirbhaya, ascribed to the brave girl, a para-medic student who was gang-raped and brutally, rather beastly, tortured in a Delhi bus on December 16, 2012 finally to die. There was a massive movement across the country which made the government bring in some new tough law in 2013. A new government at the Centre in 2014 pronounced loud assurances of fast track trial and stringent punishment to the rapists etc. In that background, on May 11, 2017, virtually similarly mutilated body of a 23 year old woman was found again in a northern state who had gone missing from a nearby town on May 9. She was gang-raped and brutally murdered. That the case was not anything isolated was proved by events in plenty. In some, mere kids are molested, even raped by close relatives and elderly neighbours whom the victim normally and easily confide upon. In such cases even when a minor victim becomes pregnant and her family lodges FIR, the culprit, often with his family starts threatening the victim’s family. Teachers, considered guardians, or even school attendants, also do not fall back from sexually exploiting students even kids. To reveal further rickety skeleton, at higher stages of schools and colleges the sanctity of relationship between teachers and students is ravaged to a dreadful void. For petty interests, to ensure class promotion, to award undue higher marks, to bring research degrees to candidates unworthy, and such others, among other factors two have become dominant, one, money and the second for girl students, sexual exploitation. A grisly example is found in the report of the Principal of a school enforcing a bribe from the father of a girl student to assure safe promotion, taking her to a private chamber and then raping her aided by 2 female accomplices and arranging a dummy to sit for her in the examination. Again, a professor of a reputable university, apparently with a good connection with the authority was arrested on charge of sexual misconduct with students. But he got bail in a few hours. Similarly filthy have become incidents even inside families. A young man continually rapes his niece and threatens her; a father is convicted for raping his daughter.
May be taking the cue from the #Me Too movement in the western world which has brought out numerous cases of serious sexual exploitation by celebrities, a group of well established women in West Bengal spoke out in a forum to narrate how they were sexually exploited to different degrees by none other than their known persons, elder brother, uncle, much-relied upon servants, or guardian like neighbour, even father.
Equally pathetic are cases with elder women. A 40-yr old married woman, an attendant at a dhaba in a western state was gangraped by six and the video uploaded in social media. A college student was arrested in south west Kolkata when he started uploading objectionable photographs in social media after a Facebook friend turned down his proposal for marriage. A village woman had lost her mobile. A local youth picked it up and uploaded objectionable photos of the woman in social media. The woman commited suicide, with a note implicating the four youths responsible. They were arrested. The list is definitely longer; the point is however already covered.
Though the governments and sometimes the media tend to show how effectively and fast the culprits are being put to trial under the POCSO, the reverse situations are not rare, rather those make the rule. Thus rich neighbour’s son or family member or even a goon in touch with the local police, may rape a poor girl. He, his friends, even relatives keep on threatening the victim and her family, if the latter dare to lodge complain with the police. The police, themselves, advise the victims to keep mum and withdraw. If the victims dare to pursue further, it may end with loss of a life in victim’s family or to any well wisher taking initiative for them. Such was a case, when in a suburb locality of a city, the local gang of goons wielded power and kept the population under threat, at the same time continuously bullying and molesting even raping young girls. A brave young man tried to organize people to stand up against this reign of terror. He was singled out and murdered. It was known to people that the all-powerful gang had the blessings of a ruling party.
Different other kinds are not lacking. Honour killings prevalent in some parts of the country always have a girl at the focus, taken to task fatally for loving or marrying a boy or man of a different religion or of different caste. In a different news it came out that an armyman and his family members fled home , after he had allegedly raped a state-level boxer in Bhilai luring her on the pretext of giving her tips on how to clear physical tests in police recruitment. At the order of Panchayyat in another village in a north Indian state, the husband of a woman and two others were arrested for staging a public thrashing of the woman, for eloping with another man. They tied up the woman to a tree and then thrashed her in the open.
These data and incidents provide a glimpse of how women in India have to live in tight grip of crimes and criminals both in their families and outdoors. The situation has gone down to such a depth that it is becoming more and more unsafe for girls, both inside the family and definitely outdoors. The guardians or relatives cannot rest assured that the girl will come back home safely from work or otherwise. Mind that, this is in spite of the governments, both Union and states run by this or that political party, trumpeting loud and squandering public exchequer lavishly behind their pet schemes like Beti padao, beti bachao (Let girls read and let them live) or Kanyashree (beautiful daughters)- Rupashree (beautiful brides) and such others. Besides, it cannot be forgotten that families in a country like ours with a deep-rooted traditional hang-over, are very much controlled by the patriarchal attitudes and dominations. It debars family members from even accepting domestic violence as a crime, leave aside bringing it into the open.
Gory incidents :
Minority bashing, Dalit lynching, human trafficking
Minority or Dalit lynching on fraudulent charges of eating beef or killing cows etc., on allegations of ‘love jihad’ a campaign hyped during this BJP rule against the minority community on charges of inter-religion marriages, or, allegations of conversion from Hinduism to Islam or Christianity, these have become added source of violent criminal assaults under the rule of the present BJP governments. The NCRB holds that 5 BJP ruled states have the highest crime rates against Dalits for 2014 to 2016, with conviction rates sharply plunging from 35% in 2010 to 28% in 2015 (Livemint 08-01-18).
Without adding much we may end with a particular incident of ‘love jihad’. In Rajasthan, a Muslim migrant worker was brutally killed in open. The killer had his action videoed and boastfully claimed his righteousness against the victim’s illicit relation with a Hindu girl. Widely propagated over the country, the incident created pressure on the Rajasthan government and its police had ultimately to crack the case to bring out that the killer himself had illicit relations with his ‘Hindu sister’ to protect whose honour he had said, he had killed the man. (Times of India 15 January 2018). This truth was however not propagated as vigorously as the previous criminal incident.
Human trafficking has turned into a flourishing business. It takes up many disguises and hence often go undetected. Two instances are mentioned only to provide clues. A young girl was auctioned for Rs 22000 at a village in a north Indian state. The man who had bought her married the girl. But two young brothers who had arranged the auction, raided the buyer’s house for unpaid money and took away the girl. The man was found hanging from a nearby tree. The police stood beside the brothers.
India cannot boast of being singular in presenting such a chequered canvas of horrible incidents. It has its partners. # Me Too movement has already been mentioned which implicates a long list of highest celebrities in USA or Europe. In USA along with a varied spectrum of crimes and brutal acts, shooting and killing are very common, as the gun is easily available and a powerful gun lobby stands as unshakable barrier to stringent gun law. There are repeated occurrences of single gunman spraying bullets upon innocent people, in many cases they being school children and teachers within their campus or classroom. Most detestable is the fact, that the assailants do not feel any compunction nor repentance, rather more than often they seem to be rejoicing at their horrible misdeeds. After such a ghastly killing in recent times, people, particularly the young students and their family members seem to have reached a limit. There was a 17 minutes ‘Walkout’ in schools over the country. And succeeding it on 25 March last, there were massive rallies in almost all important cities of the USA and an estimated 800,000 strong rally in Washington DC. It was a people’s movement termed the “March For Our Lives” which targeted the US Capitol, i.e., the government and the lawmakers . Participated largely by students, the rallies demanded stricter gun laws and prohibition of the sale of big-capacity magazines and universal check upon the .background of the buyer. It was alleged by a 11-year old student speaker that any student even with the identity-card beyond its expiry date is entering a gun shop and is buying guns. She asked ‘Where is the security?’ ‘Are we totally safe inside our schools? How do we get the security in the classrooms?’ The 9-year old granddaughter of Martin Luther King, the civil rights icon, recalled the dream of her grandfather that his four little children will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character. She told a rapt crowd “I have a dream that enough is enough”. A 2014 survey of “Violence Policy Centre” of America has brought out that black Americans are twice in number of the white counterparts as victims of gun assault. Black women are similarly assaulted twice that of white women. While the MFOL showed to what depth crime and remorseless killings have penetrated into the American society to give birth to such reactions, there was a different morbid picture too. Reportedly a father in the USA was arrested at Houston for uploading an advertisement for online sale of his daughter for a few thousand dollars; she was below 10 years. In France of Europe, IS attacks between 2015 and 2017 led to more than 250 deaths, latest being 3 people killed by a gunman on 23 March at a supermarket in a small town in western France, after his getting hold of a car killing a man also there.
Only a few of the more significant and important incidents are mentioned above to drive the point home. Besides, there are most heinous crimes like suicide bombing utilizing even innocent minor and female hostages, mass killing of innocent men- women- children even in prayer halls, kidnapping etc., perpetrated by terror-outfits like IS in Iraq-Syria or Boko Haram in Nigeria or their likes. For the sake of brevity, without details on these it only needs mention that all these terror outfits were created by the imperialists themselves, particularly the US imperialists. And the state terror and war crimes upon innocent people perpetrated by the US imperialists and their allies themselves in the name of fighting terror and terming it as collateral damage are no less dangerous elements in the string of crimes. All said and done, it remains a fact that crimes are spiralling worldwide in different forms, at different rates, but everywhere alarmingly.
Anybody with sanity worried, administration unperturbed
In India , the situation narrated above is really the tip of an iceberg. Anyone with a minimum sense of sanity and decency would tend to raise questions: Certainly this was not the state of affairs before independence when the entire nation was engaged in a do-or-die struggle against the British imperialists. During the medieval period under the feudal lords there were medieval barbarism, though in a sense those crimes were not so ferocious, dreadful and remorseless, nor rampant as crimes are getting as nowadays. Rather the rising nationalist surge helped put a break on those crimes. The country has made steps forward, earned independence, spent more than seven decades as a sovereign country aspiring to grow. Then what did happen to make the situation take such a vicious turn towards the worst? Where have all sense of values gone? Why are people becoming so reckless and daring to flout not just norms of humanity and civility, but also all red eyes and warnings of laws? Why is the rate of crimes increasing? Does it not speak of an abject failure on the part of the governments and their administrations? Or , is it that they are part of it? In fact, rampant corruption that prevails at all levels of administration and government clearly confirm that in most of the cases criminals act in league with them. As mentioned above, there are arrests under POCSO. But do not more often than that the police and the administration refuse to accept the FIR if the victim is from a poor family and the assailant hails from a rich? Does not poor quality of police investigation – particularly guided by connivance with a moneyed aggressor, lead to consequent low rate of success in rape prosecution? Even, are not trials often compromised by an influential accused and a slothful public prosecutor? The questions no longer remain in the domain of academics. They corrode and erode minds of common people to add to their sense of bewilderment, insecurity and helplessness. They grope about for a way out. In most cases they face the cruel wall erected by money, social position and political considerations, be it in cities, town or villages. Out of disgust, people may tend to feel that the situation is never going to change, it can not be helped, there is no deterrent to this menacing rise of crime. It thus demands a few more words on the issue.
What brings the situation to this horrible shape
As data prove, crime is on the high, criminals too. It is no doubt vexing. But it should be remembered that nobody is born a criminal. It is his or her surroundings, the society including families, from which he or she learns; these are the powers that drag or push people to crime. The economic system of the country stands on the ever-widening chasm of discrimination, because it exploits the majority to feed and fatten a handful. Thus the said handful of people are floating on wealth to rise among the world’s richest and a few enjoy privilege and favour from them. They wield the power as they possess the pelf. But in contrast to those miniscule of population, numberless children grow up in subhuman conditions of living. Right from the day one of their life they face poverty, a putrid shanty to live in, hardly any medical attention when needed, lack of proper education if not illiteracy, finally no job or no security in job. So they, more so young working girls or students, remain easy victims for both the criminals and the crime. Such victims suffer twice, once from the criminal and then from the stonewall of the administration refusing to stand by her. It is the poorer who are the most susceptible. On the other hand, finding no decent means of livelihood and faced with the all powerful nexus of criminals-administration and money, they are compelled to compromise and finally get entangled in the cobweb of crime world itself.
Those who are a bit better-off are not spared either. Economy totters from acute market crisis, resulting stagnation of growth and industrialization, spiralling unemployment, and parallel fall in purchasing power. Total uncertainty and insecurity of life and livelihood plague people’s life. Political scenes are dominated by opportunist career- seekers, even criminals. Corruption and craze for power and pelf have pervaded the entire political world, from top to bottom. The entire cultural-ethical ambience of the society is vitiated with acute degeneration. Values and ethics seem to have been wiped out from every walk of life. Added to these there is a deluge of sex and violence, unleashed through TVs and films, mobiles and smartphones. People, including youth are lured to varied means of mass communications, social media and the likes, which are already showing all signs of misuse-leakage of personal data etc. Even the so-called crime serials are introducing people, in the name of making them aware of crimes, to thousand and one ways of how crimes are carried on, keeping crime-cult alive silently and indirectly. All these aim at destroying the moral backbone of people, particularly the youth to prevent them from standing with head held high against injustice, to forestall any growth of revolutionary movement. But to everybody’s dismay there is hardly anyone to instil in them higher and nobler culture, values ethics and morality. There are teachers and professors. But a large section of them are devoid of any values and many of them coming out to be perpetrators, getting involved in heinous crimes. In such a situation there is hardly any force to imbue students with any lofty purpose of life even. Won’t these have any effect on common people? Would not they, more so their children, stand every chance of falling victim, without proper ideological-political-cultural guidance, to the spate of sex-violence and crime going to the extent of rape and killing?
And about organized crimes. Once in yesteryears politicians used to take help from musclemen to combat the rivals; these days musclemen, even convicts come out boldly as elected political representatives of people. People, at large find the election ultimately lost in the labyrinth of money, muscle and media aided and abetted by administration. It boils down to results apparently pre-decided or manipulated to get some political force or party placed in power, which will act in its best possible way to keep the system running and the real rulers the ruling class served faithfully. People’s representatives no longer represent people. Invariably, in the long or short run, the electoral pledges vanish as chunawi jumla or election slogans. As it is coming out nowadays, even social media platforms are using their data in favour of a candidate of the choice of the ruling class. And this is happening anywhere in the world, with Trump in the USA or BJP in India; it carries the omen that it may happen with anybody else or in any other country. Decades back, a high court judge in India uttered that ‘ Police is the most organized gang of criminals’; the situation has only worsened. A total anarchy, it may seem. Is not such an ambience congenial for the creeping worms, the criminals of any kind to eat through the social fabric or people’s life and wealth to make fortune for themselves?
Capitalism, the root
And this is the system that capitalism has grown into all over the world. The system had started to grow few hundreds of years back. It was then fighting against the degenerated monarchy and feudalism. It called for freedom for all, in determining their life, livelihood, their government and their society. It was working for progress of society. But the capitalist system is based upon exploitation- oppression- discrimination. And the more exploitative, more consolidated and decadent it has become, it has given birth to all-out crisis, in all fields of socio-cultural-political activities, as stated above.
Way back in mid-nineteenth century when capitalism had not grown to this state, had not yet fully given up adherence to basic humanist values and bourgeois democratic principles, the great leader of the proletariat and one of the greatest genius mankind has ever produced, Karl Marx, based upon his penetrative scientific analysis of development of human society including all its aspects, concluded that in capitalism money and self-satiation have become supreme, omnipotent. Everything in life and society including human relations even within families are subjugated to money, to satiation for self. How prophetic Marx’s conclusions were is felt every moment today. Now with capitalism reaching its utterly decadent phase these characteristics have assumed still uglier form. The degenerated decadent system is turning man into beasts. Self-satiation at any cost by any means and grabbing money through any measure are driving people crazy to turn into dreaded criminals. Thus a rapist or a murderer does not feel any pang while committing crime. People around look helpless, speechless and action-less. Those in charge of governance and administration count how far and in which way, they can use the crime for their benefit. The gruesome events unfold one after another, now here, then there, posing a ferocious challenge to humanity.
What is the way out
But standing helpless won’t save people nor their family, neither their spouse, nor children. People will have to come out on to streets. Need of the hour is to give birth to a sustained cultural movement throughout the country incorporating the objective of forestalling the inhuman and barbarous acts of killing and other crimes ceaselessly going on. All right thinking and well meaning people must come out to join the movement with a view to strengthening this cultural movement. The movement must be organized well to the extent of reaching every town, every village and must take up every case of brutal acts going on in the vicissitudes. Its imperative task would be to develop strong public opinion against these brutal acts and crimes. If it can be built up on a wide and strong foundation, on one hand, it will exert tremendous pressure upon the government and other power centres, including the section of otherwise apathetic or lukewarm media and on the other hand, it will deter the perpetrators from committing brute criminal acts. This is the task ahead.