Rapists must be imprisoned for life, and those who murder their victims, must be given capital punishment. The debate on capital punishment is very vivid, but to me it seems that anyone who takes a life should not object to abdicating his in return. Why should murderers want a lease of life, when they do not respect the life of others?
The bus conductor took off the board. The bus shot past the turning to Poorvanchal. I asked the bus driver why he had not turned to the last bus stop. He said, "yeh sab poorvanchal hai, kahan utrogi?'" (This is all Poorvanchal, where would you like to get off?)
He was pointing to the woods, and at that moment, I knew I was in danger, so I stood on the foot board and yelled for help. I was 40-years-old then. It was a winter evening, and there was no one to hear me, till we reached the vice chancellor's drive, where outside the Institute of Immunology a sole guard stood. He heard my piercing yells from the footboard and stopped the bus. A scientist travelling from the laboratory in her car dropped me home. I was one of the lucky ones who survived such a mishap.
Elderly scholar though I was, I was of no consequence to these two men, who may or may not have intended rape or assault. To safeguard the interests of the scholars whom I teach, who travel in public buses from libraries and shops, I wrote to the Director of the DTC through the vice chancellor and the union. I received an immediate apology from the Director. Prof Kumkum Roy and union members and my friends also went to the Vasant Vihar Bus Depot, where the station officer, one Mr George, was extremely offensive and denied the possibility that one of his men could have meant harm to me.
It was unnerving, to say the least. What happened that night was something I have always dreaded, being the sole passenger in a DTC bus after twilight. 6 pm on a winter evening is not late, but still, I was in trouble, middle-aged woman that I was at that time. The threat of being abducted was very real, even though JNU campus is very guarded, and help arrived in time, with the chief of security appearing within five minutes in his van, after being summoned by his representative, who had stopped the bus.
For rape victims, the memory must be so much worse. Every time we hear of a rape, we know what the victim goes through is much worse than drawing the last breath. Rapists must be given life imprisonment, and rapists who murder their victims, must be given capital punishment. The debate on capital punishment is very vivid, but to me it seems that anyone who takes a life should not object to abdicating his in return. Why should murderers want a lease of life, when they do not respect the life of others?
About the Author: Prof. Susan Visvanathan teaches Sociology at JNU and is the author of "The Children of Nature: The life and legacy of Ramana Maharshi' (Roli 2012) and "Nelycinda and Other Stories" (Roli 2012)
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