Thursday, April 1, 2010

Civil Society (?)

I am very pleased to read an editorial today. It is about a landmark verdict by a district court in Haryana. Death sentence is handed down to five people who had killed a young couple for marrying against caste norms. It is for the first time in the history of Indian Judiciary that a capital punishment is awarded in such a case.

I have seen a lot of reports on so called 'honour killings', but our courts seem to have not taken the crime so seriously as it actually should. The perpetrators of the crime in the name of family, village, caste or cultural honour, were let off with light sentences. Now with this landmark judgement, even though by a lower court should send clear signals to the village panchayats called 'Khaps' in Haryan where, such crimes take place on a regular basis, to think again before it gives its verdicts in such cases or marriages and elopements. In this particular case, the marriage was not even inter-caste but the girl and the boy belonged to the same 'Gotra'! I am also pleased because justice was delivered pretty fast. The crime took place in 2007 when the eloped young couple was located by relatives of the girl including her brother and was brutally killed. It is only recently the Home Ministry viewed such killings as murders.

The social malady is spread over Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and parts of Uttar Pradesh. I even refuse to term this as social malady. In my opinion it is the barbaric instincts, though present in all human beings but given expression among the uncivilised people.

Not only these honour killings, I also see rape cases, kidnaps and all kinds of uncivilised manners and practices reported regularly every day. There was a shocking incident reported yesterday. A nineth grade minor girl was kidnapped by an astrologer for performing a puja to some minor deity in order to get hidden treasures. The girl's own father convinced the girl to co-operate with the astrologer, who took her to a remote village and raped her! The astrologer was subsequently caught and the girl was in trauma and was admitted to NIMHANS, Bangalore. It was suspected that the girl was later to be sacrificed!

I dont know if the West and other so called developed and civilised contries are any less superstitious. But the big question always haunts me - are we living in a civiled world? Is religious fundamentalism and terrorism civil?

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