From Gang Rape to Juvenile Killing – Will India listen to the agony of its North East

He was called India’s Most Hated. Bhura, – The Young Indian teenager, few months short of his eighteenth birthday when he joined five others in brutally raping a young woman in a moving bus on that tragic Delhi evening of 16th December, 2012. Nirbhaya, the Victim as she is referred to today, before succumbing to her injuries two weeks later had herself given a signed statement confirming that the teenager, Bhura, had not only raped her and inflicted violence but had went to the extent of inserting an iron rod in her vagina and had pulled out her intestines! Such was the extent of demonic brutality of that about-18 young man.

With all the public outrage and media-hype, there was demand for strict punishment and death penalty. In fact, the prosecution also said he was the most brutal of the six offenders. Yet, nearly nine months after the incident in India’s Fast-Track legal chariot, the Juvenile Justice Board held Bhura guilty and awarded him the maximum punishment provided in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. The punishment was that he would stay the next 2 years and 3 months in a correctional home. That’s all! A total of three years in a correction home with free food and coaching for someone who could rape a girl, causing her death, in the most unhuman ways. That is India’s Being Humane Legal system. After all Indian Culture preaches about Khsyama or forgiveness, isn’t it? And being just about (or above) 18, he deserved it (?) Alright.

Let’s move a year further from that black day of 16th December.

This time, it is the night of 11th December, a day after the world celebrated World Human Rights Day. But it was not Delhi or any place where National Media or Facebook generation cares about. It was in a remote village of Assam in North East India. A place where one can never dream if celebrating Human Rights Day as there are no Human Rights in these regions.

Anyway,- so on that fateful winter and foggy night of 11th December, a group of 3 youth were sleeping in bundles of thatch in their residence at Chirang’s Raidungbari village, Assam. None of them were old enough to call themselves adults. Jiri Narzary was the eldest at 16, Pranjit Narzary was 14 and Nikodin Narjary was just a kid of 13. They were all students and the youngest was studying in 7th Standard. As stated by their parents, they were studying till 10:00 pm for the exams which were on and then had gone to sleep together.

At about midnight, the Great Indian Army’s Rajput Regiment and Chirang Police in a joint operation allegedly fired at them during their sleep, killing Jiri Narzary (16) and Pranjit Narzary (14) on the spot. Nikodin Narjary (13) received fatal bullet injuries as well. The Army’s version of the story is that it was an encounter and that there was firing from both sides. The locals, who know these kids well, could not believe their ears and eyes. It was the second incident of alleged fake encounter by Army in the last five days and it was just too much for the people. People came out in large numbers, took to the streets to protest and burnt down the local police station.

Some big question arises in this whole context, – why is this difference.

In Delhi, a Rapist and murderer is given free food and coaching by our judicial system because he was short of his adulthood. In North East India, the Army and the Police justifies the killing of the kids stating that this was necessary as they were insurgents! And No,- Indian Armed forces under the inhuman AFSPA do not need to give much proof as well. Anyway, the issue is not about politicizing or playing the old blame game of Delhi is Step-mother of North East funda. The issue is for real.

Worse and quite predictably so, the day this incident happened, – there was no media coverage in any Indian National Media. They were going gaga about Gay Rights and how wrong the Supreme Court was (Agreed that Gay Rights is required) but none of the News Channels or National Press had even a minute to spare or some good words to showcase the brutalities of another pillar of India’s so called Security system. Maybe this was ignored because such an incident is not alien to North East India, burnt equally by separatist Guerrilla movements and wrath of the Indian Army. Civilians are killed in bomb blasts by insurgents as well as through Fake encounters by Indian Armed Forces. State sponsored killings, secret killings, kidnap and killings; – it’s all about killings by either sides. Homicide has become a day-to-day street affair and nobody seems to care about it.

What is following after the incident at Assam is routine. The Chief Minister in his habitual style has promised to punish the guilty and find out truth (The Chief Minister has probably more hair in his head that number of un-kept promises), local bodies rightly agitating for investigation, common people sipping tea while watching this news in local media and wondering when the next killing would be and where. For some relief, the Gauhati High court has questioned the State Government as to why the matter is not being investigated by the CBI. Let’s ignore the irony that the same Gauhati High Court had, some months ago, ruled that CBI is illegal!

India – will you listen?

In 2004, women in Manipur had stripped naked to protest the gang-rape of 32-year-old Thangjam Manorama in hands of Indian Army personnel. Such a level of protest is unheard of, across the Globe. No one in Mainland India seemed to care and take notice; Indian National Media gave little importance. Had it been given importance of Nirbhaya, probably things would have changed atleast to some extent in the last decade. But no, India did not care to listen. Today Rape is haunting India like never before. Read

This time, young children are killed with bullets silently in North East India and people are protesting, again. Tomorrow it might be (God Forbid) in the Delhi’s and Mumbais or any part of India. Will you give attention then, India? Or, just like North Eastern victims of Gang Rapes (by Armed forces) , the kids will also be left alone once again,- giving birth to more frustrated youths who decide to take up guns to fight back?

AFSPAChirang Fake EncounterDecember 16 GangrapeDelhi Gang RapeFake EncounterFake Encounter by Indian ArmyHuman RightsIndian ArmyThangjam Manorama