#Opinion

Gurmeet Ram Rahim ‘Not A Hardcore Prisoner’: Is Rape Not A Serious Crime?

Gurmeet Ram Rahim
Two things happened on April 8. A priest in Sitapur of Uttar Pradesh openly delivered rape threats against Muslim women. And Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim who was sentenced to jail for raping women disciples was rendered as “not a hardcore prisoner” by Punjab and Haryana High Court. Isn’t it a coincidence that two religious leaders were openly allowed to be casual about rape and rape threats on the same day? But why don’t these coincidences shock us? Why do we insensitively scroll up the news? Why doesn’t such a casual attitude toward rape outrage us?

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim was earlier out on 21-days of parole in February of this year when Punjab elections were on head. He was even provided Z-plus security. He lived with his family in his Gurugram based ashram with full security. And now the High Court has declared that Rahim’s crime is not as serious as to not provide him parole. The court declined the plea of a petitioner who claimed that Rahim had committed heinous crimes and should not be allowed any furlough.

It is true that the patriarchal mindset is like a mould that spreads throughout society and even grows its root in the courtrooms.

The case makes me wonder about the mindset of the protectors and representatives of the law. If they think that a rapist is not a hardcore prisoner, then how can they be even trusted to protect the women of our society? It is true that the patriarchal mindset is like a mould that spreads throughout society and even grows its root in the courtrooms. If women’s safety is not upheld in the courtrooms, which are supposed to be the unbiased protectors of justice, then how can women be safe in other places? Especially when rapists like Raheem are out on parole and roaming the streets freely?

It is ironic that when Rahim was on parole, the government thought that it was more important to provide him with Z-plus security. But not to the women of the country who might be in danger of being raped again. Why did the government choose Rahim’s safety over the safety of women? Why did it protect a rapist and not the ones who are raped? Doesn’t this tell that our government shows little to no concern for women’s safety in the country?

In our country, the problem is that more than law, a person’s money and power influence decisions. If a person is powerful and a known celebrity, then the charges against them automatically become unimportant. But who thinks about the sufferers? Who listens to the survivors’ cries for justice? Why does no one think that power doesn’t change the mindset of a person or their status of being a criminal? Just imagine, if there was someone else in place of Rahim, charged with rapes and murders, will he be provided Z-plus security? Will he be considered “not a hardcore prisoner”?

So the point is that the law system’s blindfolded judgements need to be scanned and reconsidered. Women’s safety needs to be one of the paramount concerns of the government. It cannot just risk women’s safety to preserve its name and honour in front of powerful people. It is time that government stops buttering powerful people at the cost of the safety of several women. It is time we value women as individuals and not as pawns who can be sacrificed to save the king and queen.

Views expressed are author’s own.