[R-G] Deorala Justice delayed is Justice denied
anne at datainfosys.net
Sun Feb 1 06:40:32 MST 2004
Yesterday ( Saturday 31st Jan ) , A special court ( Sati Control ) headed by Shiv Singh Chauhan acquitted the 16 accused in the Devrala Sati case on the grounds of lack of sufficient evidence. Prominent among them are the former Health Minister Rajender Singh Rathore, Former president of Rajasthan Students Union Pratap Singh Khachriavas. President of the Rajput Sabha Narender Singh Rajavat. The case against them was that even after the Sati Control Act they organised processions in honour of the Sati committed by Roop Kanvar and shouted slogans against the Government.
This decision 16 years after the death of Roop Kanvar is a blow for women's rights. A number of witnesses have turned hostile, while others have failed to recognise the accused due to the long passage of time.
The incident was vociferously opposed by women activists within and outside the State. They were physically threatened and characters maligned, with the police providing little or no support. Though the State passed the Sati Control Act, little could be achieved. In a massive show of strength, the Rajputs mobilised 5 lakh persons to glorify the Act of Sati by Roop Kanvar ( Johar being a magnificent tradition among the Rajputs). The youth displaying naked swords in a revival of lost glory.
A number of questions arise
1. In the name of a religious custom , the political clout of the Rajputs was flexed. This is reflected in the mass mobilisation done , the suppression of evidence from the key witnesses, even to the extent of making the brothers of Roop Kanvar perform the ceremonies of the Chundi Mahotsav on 16th September 1987.
2. The whole outlook of the Rajput Mahasabha , which portrays Sati as an epitome of Female virtue . Does the wife not have life beyond the husband.
3. The system of justice which includes , delays, suppression of evidence, angularity while looking at the evidence, type of evidence being sought for . We have the strange case of murderers existing , they being known but not able to book them why ?
This setback on the Deorala Case will allow fundamentalist patriarchal forces to raise their ugly head . Hard won women's rights will be under test. Sane Democratic forces will have to protest this decision .
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