Graveyard of Innocence

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As the complaints lodged at the Manipur State Commission for Women showed over 100 complaints of rapes were reported in the state during the last couple of years. Experts have estimated the number of unreported cases to be treble the previous figure. The patterns of rapes vary and include grotesque cases when adults rape their minor relatives or neighbors or physically or mentally handicapped girls or freakish ones when the victim was a sexagenarian woman. But our apprehension is also drawn to another type of rape which have been linked to the existence of the ill-reputed restaurants of Manipur. We are talking about the drug-assisted rape whose wide prevalence is beyond argument but there is little in terms of policy or system to stop it. In this type of sexual assault, the predators plans in advanced, three-four days or even weeks earlier, about how to actuate the rape. He takes his girlfriend (victim) to a quiet, private and romantic ambience, aptly provided by the ‘restaurant’ and executes his hours of planning to perfection.

The investigation in this form of rape is very hard to progress a notable distance without pointing the fingers of accusation on the victims at one time or the other. Maybe, the victim took the drugs or intoxicants voluntarily. But afterwards she lost control. That she participated willingly in the beginning is very hard to tell to the police or anyone else as it might dilute the crime. But, imagine the victim sitting in a drug induced stupor. Now, in that state pressurizing the person into taking more of the drugs is not going to be difficult. Random thoughts of what might happen next cross the person’s mind. Because, the drugs have uninhibited the person and you say and do things you do not do normally and you lost the sense of fear. Talking becomes easier and there is openness about all kinds of personal matters. The woman can see the attack coming but then she is powerless. At the end, she remembers about half an hour of a five hours ordeal. Now, you can see what comes into view.

Recent statements by legal experts are indicators that soon tough laws to persecute such types of criminal will be in the offing in Manipur too. In recognition of the destructiveness of such cases, the Judge while pronouncing the sentences of the two rapists in the TG School student rape case advised an enquiry into the regulations overseeing the operation of the infamous restaurants of the state. Further, while addressing the anniversary of MSCW, state Director of Prosecution Ng Tejkumar pronounced these restaurants as the graveyard for young innocent girls and supported its eradication.

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