A Rude Awakening for India

Indian students in a One Billion Rising rally in New Delhi on February 14, 2013.

India has barely had time to mourn over the recent tragedy of the gang rape of a 23 year-old girl this past December. The trial of these five men is still going on. Now, India is hit with yet another crime against women, and this time the victims are even younger.  The bodies of the three girls — aged 6, 9 and 11 — were found dead at the bottom of a well in the Bhandara district in Maharashtra state this past Saturday. The girls were reported missing two days earlier.

The medical examiner suggested that the cause of death of these three young girls was drowning. On top of that, they had all been sexually assaulted before their deaths.   As of right now, the police are questioning possible suspects, but have yet to find anyone connected with the assault.

The mother of the three girls claims that the police did not respond quickly enough to the girls’ disappearance. “Had the police searched for the girls in the neighboring areas, then they would have been found,” said the woman, whose identity was withheld in accordance with Indian laws protecting the victims and families in sexual assault cases.

The police deny her allegations, but have suspiciously replaced and suspended the local police officer who was in charge of the area where the incident took place.  He was replaced by Officer Tiwari, who claims, “We acted promptly” and “wireless messages were issued the same day and police teams fanned out to find the girls.”

The mother of three girls urges the police to find the perpetrators responsible quickly. She has her own idea of punishment in mind. She has called for those responsible to be publicly hanged. “I appeal to the government to capture the culprits and hang them in public,” she said.

Does the suspicious behavior by the police raise questions as to whether they conducted their investigation into the girls’ disappearances properly?  If so, should there be an investigation into their behavior? Are the police partly to blame for this tragedy? What do you think about the mother’s idea for punishment?  Is it over the top?

Article and Picture Source:  CNN.com

2 comments

  1. In response to the first question posed, I do believe the suspicious behavior by the police in response to the allegations brought by the mother of the three children raises some eyebrows. Granted, one may view this action as a possible response to the public outcry to settle the worries of the citizens and restore faith in law enforcement. However, I tend to believe that when there is smoke, there is fire. If the police officer in charge of the area where the incident took place acted promptly and in accordance with any procedures in place, it is hard to believe that this officer would have been suspended. Based on this, I would say there should be an investigation into their behavior and I hope that one of the reasons for this suspension being enforced was for the very purpose of looking into any possible malfeasance by the officer in charge. While I completely understand the mother’s anger towards everyone in this matter, her idea of punishment may be over the top, as I believe that a criminal, no matter how despicable of a human being, should be entitled to all the protections afforded to him by the law to ensure fair treatment. However, I hardly have any sympathy for a person who could commit such horrible acts, especially to young children who had their whole life ahead of them. Then again, if I were the parent of these children, I’m sure I would be calling for measures far worse then a public hanging.

  2. I agree with Peter, if the officer in charge of the area had followed proper procedures in response to a missing persons claim then it is hard to see why he would be suspended. This suspension shows, at the very least, a problem with that law enforcement official and an investigation should be conducted to see if the problem was limited to that individual or if there is a more systematic problem with how all law enforcement officials handle cases involving women and/ or missing people.

    At such an early stage in the investigation it is hard to say if the police force should be blamed for the deaths of the girls. It is possible that the officer did follow the procedures in place and that the suspension was just to clam the public, like Peter pointed out. Two conclusions could be reached from that scenario; one is that the procedures in place were insufficient, which would mean the police can be blamed, in part, for the deaths of the girls since they did not have procedures in place that allowed the police force to operate in the most effective manner. The other is that the procedures were sufficient enough and there was just not enough evidence, witnesses, etc. to allow the police to do anything. This would mean that the police force could not be blamed since the perpetrators were exceptional careful in the execution of this terrible crime.

    It is also possible that the officer was not following procedure. This also allows two conclusions to be reached. The first is that procedures in place would have allowed the criminals to be apprehended sooner and the officer did not follow them. This would mean that the individual officer is to blame and it is up to the police force, as a whole, to better monitor its officer and ensure their procedures are being followed. The other is that even if the officer had followed the procedures the result would be the same, either because the policy was insufficient or because the criminals were that effective. An investigation into the facts of this case will allows us to properly assess where the fault will lie.

    As for the mother’s response, I do not think it is over the top. In fact, I think it is a tame response to such a horrible crime. I think that if the perpetrators are found, judged guilty of the crime, sentenced to death, and the law allows for them to be hung then her preference of punishment should be given. It is the least the government could do to help this mother through such a difficult time in her life.

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