Juvenile rapist gets three year term: is this what we call justice?

Three year term for the juvenile rapist in Delhi gang rape case shocks the nation; family to appeal against the verdict in higher court.

A 23-year old paramedical student was gang-raped and murdered on a bus in Delhi in December last year and almost after nine months, the fast track courts that assured speedy justice in the case, sentenced a juvenile to three years in prison on Saturday.

This juvenile, was reportedly the most brutal of the six accused, repeatedly raped the girl in a moving bus, violated her body with an iron rod and pulled out her intestines, before dumping her on the road and trying to crush her under the same bus. He was the one who caused the most serious injuries to the victim that finally proved fatal for her and she died in a Singapore hospital, two weeks after the attack.

A family lost a daughter and all of us lost a little piece of kindness within us. The incident had caused nationwide outrage and soul searching. In response to the public outcry the government fast-tracked stringent laws against sex crimes, but refused to change the juvenile law and return the adult age to 16 from 18.

The verdict shocked the family and the mother of the victim attacked the court saying, the family has been fooled; the punishment should have been on the basis of the crime he committed, and not as per his age.  His crime was as grave as that of the others, so why should he get less punishment?

The family said they would appeal against the verdict in higher court as their fight to get justice for their daughter is still not over. Four of the co-accused are still on trial and would face death penalty, if convicted.

Despite nationwide outcry, promises from the government, long discussions in the parliament and amendment of laws against sexual crimes; the country has failed the expectations of thousands of nameless, faceless women who have been through the torment or are violated everyday in some way or the other.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show horrible statistics, which states that every 20 minutes, a woman is raped somewhere in India. According to the home ministry figures, some 33,000 crimes have been committed by juveniles in India last year, which is the highest in a decade.

I would like to ask the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) that should India be so soft on young offenders. Will this not encourage all juveniles to indulge in similar horrendous crimes and get away with just three years of imprisonment? Should the minor not be treated similar to other offenders for a crime, which comes under ‘rarest of the rare’ category?

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