The recent case of rape and tonsuring of a minor girl of unsound mind in Moirang is a case which demands serious attention of the civil society and the state.
Several issues are involved in the brutal act.
One is the rape of a minor girl.
Secondly the victim is of unsound mind who has been lured into the act by a person with unsavoury intentions.
There are also other issues like the lack of police action or that of welfare groups who supposedly looks after the interests of children and women, and also the absence of shelter homes for such abused girls and women.
Most disturbing of all, the act of the local women who had tonsured the girl accusing her of having illicit relations with the rapist while ignoring the circumstances in which she was lured.
The 15 year old girl was lured inside the Moirang INA complex by a mason engaged in construction work there and raped in one of the rooms. As she was of unsound mind, her response would certainly have been different than other normal teenagers who would have shouted their objections for someone to hear and come to her help. But, she must have acted otherwise which would lead the local women to believe that she is a party to the act.
But, the current norm among women organisations is such that they believe what they want to believe and nothing else. They considered themselves the vanguard of the society ready to sweep away all the evils infecting the society. The common trait among these organisations is that they do not trust the police or the criminal justice system which of course is corrupt.
They believe all the policemen are corrupt and they would let the guilty rapist or any criminal scot free. They even do not have faith in the courts who they also believe would set the criminals free.
This encourages them to lake law into their hands and delivers instant justice when they could or when the perpetrator is in their hands.
Today Manipur is reeling in the grip of a culture of mob violence and vigilante justice, where the Meira Paibis and the local populace are so eager to deliver their brand of justice like tonsuring or public humiliation of any person who they considered guilty and demolition of the houses of such persons without taking into consideration the fate of the other members of the family. The other members of the family who had no connection with the crime supposedly committed by a member of the family are also subjected to mob violence, thereby making them outcastes of the locality. Most of the times, the family of the person is excommunicated from the locality as if the other members of the family had incited the accused to commit the crime in question or that they are also a party to the crime.
The tragedy is that, these vigilantes do not care to go into the details or the circumstances of the crime. They assume that once an accusing finger is raised against a person or persons he or they are guilty and the Meira Paibis or the local people resort to instant justice. They are always in a hurry as they do not believe in the police investigation or the honesty of the police personnel.
As winds sweeps in to fill the void caused by a fire, the vacuum of police inaction is filled up by mob violence. Another tragedy is that, the top echelons in the police organisation simply do not care about such trends.
Top police officials lament that, the public tends to take law into their hands and they accuse such people involved in mob action.
What is required of the state is that, police reforms should be ushered in and steps towards establishing the credibility of the police should be taken up.