In a world where a human being is murdered a little over every minute, some crimes simply shake your trust in humanity. Gruesome rape and murder of Dr. Priyanka Reddy, a veterinarian from Telangana is one such.
The whole sequence and the manner in which the crime was executed can simply numb anyone’s mind.
Telangana Rape-Murder – Timeline of how the evil played out
The four demonic individuals who perpetrated the crime are Mohammed Arif, J. Siva, J. Naveen and Chenna Keshavulu. While Areef is a driver, other three are all lorry cleaners. Areef is 26 and others are 20 and all of them are from the Narayanpet district of Telangana. The Telangana government has ordered the case to be processed via a fast track court.
11/27/2019 – 5.30 PM
Alcohol purchase and consumption
Main accused Mohammad Areef purchased alcohol from a nearby shop and then with the rest of the three accused drank one and half bottle of whiskey in the lorry’s cabin near the toll plaza near Shamshabad 11/27/2019 – 5.30 PM11/27/2019 – 6.00 PM
Ill-fated exposure to evil
Dr. Priyanka Reddy parked her scooty near the lorry and left for her clinic – which was seen by the accused who decided to rape the girl. One of the them punctured scooty’s rear tire11/27/2019 – 6.00 PM11/27/2019 – 9.00 PM
Preparing for the demonic
The four park their lorry at Thondapalli Junction further away from the victim’s scooty.11/27/2019 – 9.00 PM11/27/2019 – 9.18 PM
Victim falls in the trap
Dr. Reddy came back from the clinic to take her scooty when she realised that one of the tyres of the scooty was punctured 11/27/2019 – 9.18 PM11/27/2019 – 9.30 PM
The Gruesome Act
One of the accused, Shiva, offered the girl help and said that he would get the tyre repaired from a nearby shop. He returned a while later and claimed that all the shops nearby had closed. After this, the four accused grabbed the girl and dragged her to an empty compound besides the truck. Another one of the accused, Naveen, switched off her phone. She is brutally gang-raped until she is unconscious. When she regained consciousness she starts to scream. Areef suffocates her to death. The four put her body in the truck and flee the scene. Shiva and Naveen drove her scooty away from the parking location. On the way they purchase petrol. Later, under a bridge on the National Highway 44, they poured petrol on the body and set her on fire 11/27/2019 – 9.30 PM11/28/2019 – 4.00 AM
The four accused flee the city and reach Aramgarh early in the morning. 11/28/2019 – 4.00 AM11/28/2019 – 5.00 AM
Search for the girl
Overnight search continuing by the police 11/28/2019 – 5.00 AM11/28/2019 – 7.00 AM
After an overnight search, the police finally find the victim’s charred body lying under the bridge 11/28/2019 – 7.00 AM11/28/2019 – 3.00 PM
Family of the victim brought to the police station to book an official complaint.11/28/2019 – 3.00 PM
The lady did not get alarmed as to why her Scooty suddenly had a punctured while it was simply standing and was ill-prepared for what was coming to her when those four guys attacked her. She trusted and suffered the most gruesome fate because of that. As new facts are coming out, it just seems that there was no end to their brutality and lack of any iota of humanity in them.
Should we be always on our guard? Should the kids and youth interact by assuming the worst about each other? How do you assess the other in a society where everything is ok for the conscience of people?
Now, as the nation grieves the Telangana Rape-Murder, many voices will also be raised to paint the population as inhuman and specifically all Indian men as predators. However, as gruesome and unbearable as this crime is, will that be correct?
Is India the ‘Rape Capital’?
It is not that India is the only country with gruesome crimes against women. It is not. In fact, India with a population of 1.3 billion had 24,206 rapes in 2011, while US with a population of 300 million had 83,425 rapes (source). A woman is raped in US every 6.2 minutes!
It is also not true that convictions are not happening in the Indian system. In fact, the numbers in the so-called developed countries for convictions in rape crimes is extremely pathetic! In UK, only 7% of reported rapes got convictions in 2011-12, while in Sweden the conviction rate is 10%, and in Germany it has now come down to 8%. Only France had 25% in 2006. In India it was 24.2% in 2012 (source).
So you see, India’s problem with rape is nowhere near what the modern states are handling. By any measure. And, I hope after the MeToo movement and how women who were molested and raped at the highest echelons of the Western society ‘came out’ now, anyone should even dare lecture India about rapes not being reported in the country! If the rapes amongst the elites are not reported in US by a such a huge margin, then all those figures about rapes being reported are at best fuzzy.
Changing society and Changing morality
A foreign traveler came to India in 1817 CE and said something about how women were treated that is extremely instructive. One statement is specifically symptomatic of how safe women were – “A Hindu woman CAN go anywhere, even in the most crowded places, and she NEED NEVER fear the impertinent looks and jokes of idle loungers” (emphasis added). Here is an extract of his book, which comes to us thanks to True Indology – who guides everyone in verifiable and credible historic facts.
Now, remember that the guy writing this was a Christian who held Hindus and other ways to be “morally depraved”. That is how the Christians looked at the Pagans and that is the template they used for the Hindus.
But what is most remarkable is how even when women in naked or half naked states in public, the men around them did not view them as objects of lust. It is not to say that India and its ancient people were always an embodiment of good and divine. Rapes happened in all times, because men who were lustful and powerful forced themselves on women.
Such incidents, however, were never brushed under the carpet. Even in scriptures, one can find references of situations where men raped women who were helpless. Two such references which stand out are:
- Ravana and his demonic lustful ways of handling women
- Sage Bhārgava’s daughter Arajā(अरजा) rape by Ikshavaku King Danda(दंड)
In Valmiki Ramayana (Critical edition 7:24), this passage appears which details the crimes of Ravana and the helplessness of women he abused (thanks again to True Indology).
Whenever Ravana would see any beautiful woman, he would kill all her relatives and abduct her. Till he did so with Sita. What happened thereafter to him has been a legend through many a millennia. When he was confronted, that which was considered divine (Shri Ram) did not flinch. No matter what the cost, the criminal and the evil was brought down ruthlessly.
All such acts wherever they occured not common. And, the criticism and condemnation was severe, unequivocal and hard.
Morality or Spirituality?
Morality requires fear of a system or a belief which keeps the believer in check. We have all seen whether it was Vatican or other structures, that things you create edicts for, become your greatest obsession – (Sex obsessed Vatican and Sex parties of Vatican). For a religion that is centered around the need to impose virginity on Jesus’ mother to pass the divinity test, the largest church in its history as well as others – have been sancturies of sexual predators. Women (and men, more so in recent times) have been raped, abused and murdered – to this date – in its confines.
Religion backed morality is therefore, never a great way to enforce proper conduct in a society.
In general spiritual practices and ways that would handle the physical urges and needs of people without amplifying the perverse or keeping that in check helped the Indian society to keep its sanity and humanity, as that Christian missionary traveler suggested.
There are two models that the world has seen –
Libertarian open society: one is complete adherence to individuality and opening things up so much that abuse and attacks do not hold any allure. That is the model that West, specifically the Nordic societies, have gravitated towards as it tried to grapple with crimes triggered by religion. Truth, however, is that this model has not completely succeeded. It may work in a very small group of population, but as society becomes large and diverse, focus on openness dissipates.
Structured spirituality backed society: In this model, spiritual techniques and tools were used to help transform people and also create rituals as well as norms which better handled the physical needs. The idea here was not to make the physical so open that it lost all lure, but to channel it in a direction where one truly went beyond the physical. This is the direction that India took.
While the West scoffed at ‘arranged marriages’ and celebrated those based on ‘love’ (albeit failed) relationships, in India marriages were structured around energies of two beings. The rituals and norms made these marriages larger than just an event. They were a deeper bond.
As the Western template was forced upon the world and more so on India, the norms and structures of the yore started breaking up. Mangalsutra, for example, which was one of the central component of marriage bond became more a symbol of wealth versus strength of its state which it once was.
We, as a society, sanctioned the Telangana Rape-murder
There is a price to be paid for a society where reckless and uncontrolled individualism trumps discretion and sensitivity. Activism by those who tout freedoms these days roots for anarchy and unmitigated ability to offend. The need to offend and push one’s ways on others sans any sensitivity is being eulogized.
Such a need and ways create anarchy of every kind. It does not stop with just a political system or ideology. When your right to offend but not be offended becomes the sine qua non of liberty, then how do you stop those who take it to the most gross level?
When those who openly work and sloganeer for destroying your homes, societies and therefore, your families, are held as the paragons of freedom and untouchable by law of the land, then is it any wonder that some can translate this fetish for anarchy and abuse of others as their right to enjoyment?
Were Yasin Malik, Burhan Wani and Gautam Navlakha not raping the society in the name of freedom to offend a certain people? How many have they set on the life of crime and violence with a sense of righteousness?
And without adequate consequences.
Righteousness of the criminal and the inhuman without consequences is not a preserve of those who rape a girl and burn her into a charred carcass, but the very path that we as a society are being goaded on.
Mohammad Areef and his companions were not the only ones who did this unthinkable crime that we are simply calling as “Telangana Rape-Murder”. We, as a society, have sanctioned it.
By our perversity where relentless and unchallenged focus on desires and primacy of their execution becomes the measure of our freedom.