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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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SMART MOVES

In Delhi, the police managed to get on to most of the rapists quickly — after they had done their work in a bus that wandered the streets undisturbed. That is rare. But this is not to say that the police, especially in smaller towns and rural areas, are always clueless about those accused of rape or molestation. If there is one prized ability the police have, it is the ability to miss the alleged culprits somehow, even if they are sitting at home. Soon after the Delhi rape, a woman was stripped, tied to a tree and beaten up in broad daylight in a village close to Agartala, Tripura. The seven alleged culprits were arrested after the woman complained — quick work — and released on bail —even quicker. It is as though an administration well-versed in the dangers of letting violent men go free to threaten complainants revels in doing the same thing repeatedly. Reportedly, the woman’s husband hired the goons to hurt his wife with the accusation that she was promiscuous, while he and his family are still holding on to their baby. None of them has been questioned, let alone arrested. Meanwhile, the spectacle of a naked woman being beaten up has provided many with a delectable subject for their phone-cameras.

On the next day, in a village in the Malda district of West Bengal, a girl from Class IX was abducted by five young men with guns, forced into a hotel room with one of them and raped. She was released the next day. There is medical evidence of rape. The police have not caught anybody yet — apparently two culprits are ‘absconding’ and catching them will lead to the others. Yet the alleged chief culprit and rapist has been identified by the girl, and a proposal of marriage has come to her mother from his house. Somehow the police are unable to catch him. Besides, the girl and her mother have refused the proposal and have demanded justice. Maybe it is this which has led the police to ask why the abduction of the girl was reported after the crucial night had passed. Perhaps the girl is guilty of her own rape?