That’s good!

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 30 Dec 2018 11:15:53

T HE Union Cabinet’s decision to approve amendments to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act including death penalty to offenders, needs to be welcomed wholeheartedly. There had been a rising demand for death penalty in extreme cases of child abuse even as the country started witnessing more and more sexual crimes against children. Accepting the unfortunate reality that sexual abuse of children has been on the rise, the Government agreed to think seriously about how to punish the offenders. The latest acceptance by the Union Cabinet of the principle that high offenders needed a very serious punishment, thus, should be treated as a clear victory of the right thought.

This decision assumes much importance against the background that many sections of our society have been asking for abolition of death penalty altogether. Even the judiciary appears to demonstrate a tendency to avoid Death penalty as much as possible. Despite these well known facets, the Union Cabinet opted for the extreme measure. That shows clearly that the Government has been very serious about certain issues about which it entertains no nonsense.

It is unfortunate that our society is witnessing even-increasing crime against children. The media is constantly reporting cases of girls -- and even boys -- getting subjected to sexual assaults. The news items are shocking that even eighty-year-old men sexually assaulting little ones of just a few months in age. Rape-and-murder cases involving very little children are also reported in shocking numbers. Because of such a worsening social morality, suggestions kept coming in good numbers in favour of the strictest possible punishment to offenders. The approval of amendments to the POCSO Act by the Union Cabinet is good enough an indication that the Government is one with the sensible sections of the society in this regard. This is welcome.

It is difficult, of course, to accept the sad reality that our society has some demons who cross all limits of goodness, morality and dignity. There is no need to keep referring back to what came to be called the Nirbhaya case every time the subject comes up. Yet, it is also not possible to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the plight of the girl metaphorically named ‘Nirbhaya’. The public outrage at that time was phenomenal and highlighted a terrible social evil. It was a natural expectation, then, that the larger society will learn the right lessons after the gory incident. That did not happen, and sexual crimes against women and children continued to get reported in increasing numbers. that necessitated strong measures. The acceptance of the proposed amendments to the POCSO Act is an indication that many other steps, too, could be taken if the situation asked for those.

Sexual abuse of children has been a very critical social issue that never got much attention from the larger society for reasons that none has tried to analyse. But as one guess suggested, nobody wanted to talk about the crime because of its extreme nature. That may be right, since people avoid talking about something that shatters their sense of dignity is harshly offended. However, activists and thinkers thought alike as regards sexual abuse of children and raised a voice in unison. That made all the difference. May this mark the beginning of a good era in which offenders of child’s dignity are chased, caught and punished sternly.