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The animals living among us.

Bikram Vohra

I remember the good old days in Ahmedabad when I was editor of Indian Express and Narendra Modi was a fledgling politician and we were old buddies and we would meet and chew the fat and eat dhoklas and bhajiyas and go to the club to play tennis and all that.

Not that any of this is true except the first line and I wish I had met him because I would then take full advantage of our former relationship and ensure that this open letter gets to him. Think of it. One dhokla away from getting a hearing by jumping the queue and not being one of several strangers petitioning him.

This is what I want to say and if you agree see if you can give it some boost and make it go viral or whatever the word is for more folks reading it. In Delhi last week I read and heard of a multiple rape in a moving van and then watched the victim on the TV as she described the four men (two known to her). I then read the horrendous report of a panchayat member ordering a diktat in which aggrieved party A could get even by hostile party B by offering the child of the latter as a rape option to the men in party A. The girl in question was 14. And she was given over to settle the discord and yes, raped. Party on.

Now, there is crime and there is dirty Hannibal the Cannibal crime and then there is inhuman savagery.

While you haven't yet enjoyed a starburst of incandescent brilliance (and for all our sakes we hope there is a monsoon cloudburst) you still have most of our votes...we feel you are on the right track and you wish to do the right thing.

We need along with the salutary Jaitley promise of a budgetary allocation for the security of females, a new police division. One that is a mix of Special Victims Unit, Criminal Minds, the judiciary, a bit of SWAT and Delta and a summary fast track court martial in the military style for all cases where an immediate tribunal sits in judgment on the fact that the prima facie evidence is so overwhelming their guilt is beyond doubt. Mr. Modi, I am truly sorry we never met in the beautiful city of Ahmedabad or in Gandhinagar but do not hold that against me. I was young and callow and had no vision of what might be.

But now that we are both Ahmedabadians who love dhoklas can we please be serious about creating a crack unit with a massive funding that puts the fear of God (or Namo or the uniform or whatever it takes) in these animals who live among us.

We just cannot continue screaming indignation and then adding another grisly chapter to this never-ending saga.

I'll tell you what; my friend from the past who could have been (is that correct English?) the current police cannot cut it. They are far too close to the culprits and stripped from the same mental cloth that sees abusing women as a male birthright. The fact that the victim was thrown out of a van half dead and then taken to the cop station one and cop station two before being dispatched to a hospital shows we will never win this war with such a mindset.

If you remember over the years we have agreed that our hiding behind our civilization is a lot of nonsense. If we had met we would have agreed our civilization has shriveled because we just stand and stare. Let's freeze this so called lofty ideal that does not exists so long as injustice of this nature is a mere headline for a day and our rich civilization called into question.

We are also agreed that there is a tolerance across the country even though millions of us are gutted to the stomach and sickened. We are helpless because the system allows these creeps to get off. By exposure we are into diminishing returns.

Let's do it...let's take the best of procedural fiction and create a true life unit of equalizers whose very presence at the scene of the crime is a deterrent to the whole country.

Let's fight this fire with fire. You don't have to original or clever, just honest. Call them the Special Victims Unit for Sex Crimes and make wearing a monitor bracelet on the guilty the first step. You don't fight this you lose. You know what? Put a Kiran Bedi in charge. Allocate a massive fund. Give them a private plane. Write them a charter of conduct and publicize their bristling, intimidating image as a mandate on all TV stations and media. Create a profile that will stun these cowards for in the end they are cowards. Do that and if we ever meet anywhere I promise I'll salute you. But rape and the local cop station don't jell.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Jul 16, 2014
Words:851
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