Kavita Krishnan, secretary of The All India Progressive Women’s Association is one of the foremost Human Rights (feminist) activists in India today. She is most popularly known as one of the movement leaders protesting against the rape & death of a medical student in December 2012. There is a lot to her activism other than these particular protests, but undeniably these protests have made her face familiar across nation as one of the most credible and lucid champions of women’s rights.
I always follow Kavita’s interviews and public appearances with great admiration. ( She was my senior at University, and we freshers used to have quite a crush on her for her firebrand activism, which stood out even in our radical political hotbed Univ. ) Her courage, grasp of complex issues and relentless devotion to the cause have huuuugely contributed to India’s recent mass scale awakening to Gender justice.
So when she maintains that Gender -Just laws are required as solution to sexual violence rampant in India, and not Death Penalty, I trust her to know what she is talking about. Especially since she echoes the findings of the worldwide human rights’ organizations working with gender related issues.
But, I must confess, that I am torn. I usually agree with people who oppose death penalty, but frankly speaking I am not that Kattar on either side: Pro-death penalty or Anti-death penalty. I am torn whenever I hear of particularly horrendous crimes which involve brutality of a particular scale. Like this rape of a 5 year old. The details are too gory and incite primal emotions in many people to just crush the perpetrator.
I am torn, between my trust in Kavita/ organizations working for women’s rights , and the desire to put an end to the monstrous evil by death.
When something like this brutal rape and assault of a 5 year old girl happens, my rational mind goes for a ride and nods vehemently in agreement with Akshay Kumar, who demands, like millions of angry Indians, the public hanging of the rapist of the 5 year old girl.
I am not sure if I trust Akshay Kumar to have a complex grasp of sexual violence in our society. Nope. In fact he for me is one the poster boys of Bollywood sexism. He is the last person I would consult if I am perplexed about an issue related to gender. But, I have to admit that his interview gave voice to my inner feeling of ‘PUT THE F***ER TO DEATH.. HANG THE F***ER PUBLICLY… PUT THE F***ER IN HELL..”
What Kavita says is bang on : “The question we need to ask about sexual violence laws is not ‘Are they severe enough?’ but ‘Are they gender-just enough?’ and ‘Are they firmly grounded in a recognition of women’s inalienable rights?’. Countries like Saudi Arabia have death penalty, death by stoning etc, but women there are denied equality and rights as citizens!”
But Akshay’s logic is quite appealing too : “Hang the rapist publicly, without further delay; set an example,” he says.
What do you guys think? I might lean towards Kavita when I am able to “think” rather than “react”. But right now, I am confused. Frankly. What do you guys think?