I was late by 20 minutes and thus missed the shuttle which was supposed to take me to the studio. So they put me in the same vehicle which was carrying the men for whom the “event” was being set up. Though it was not perfectly legal but they had no option, I was the only person from the technology field who was asked to air his views on the rape-rage that the nation had caught on to. Initially I was quite hesitant to share the vehicle as I did not want a media mob to gherao the vehicle and send out wrong signals when I get down from the same vehicle. When I spoke the officer in-charge of the media association about this, he smiled and said, “Dont worry sir we would be taking the back gate where no cameras are allowed”. Though it did relieve me a bit my mind was still processing multiple thoughts which were randomly flowing. Finally I sat 3.5 feet away from the men who were accused of the most brutal crime in recent times. One was accused of raping a young physiotherapist(A), the next one for raping 4 year old toddler(B) and the last one for sexually assaulting a mentally challenged female(C). The Indian Media Association had decided to carry out open media trial with some members of the judiciary taking over the judgement part and rest managed by facts which were dug out by various sections of media. To have views from the “mango man” or aam aadmi they had asked a group of 15 people from various sections of society and age groups to speak about what they feel is going wrong and how the rape incidents were denting the Indian culture.
I did not have to wait for 4 hours to know what the accused men have to say and express about the accusations on them. Thanks to the city traffic and escapist route taken by the driver the next 1 hour I was involved in a discussion with these people who currently were the most hated men in the country. In the beginning I was quiet and kept staring at the piece of paper in which I had made some points for myself for the media gathering. After about 10 minutes I looked at B and asked him,” You know the kind of punishments people are suggesting for a man who has raped a 4 year old?” As expected he put his head down and did not look up for the next 5 minutes. Meanwhile A jumped into the conversation, “I have partially been consumed by guilt like one of my co-accused who hanged himself in Tihar. The fear of people and their hatred towards me is slowly taking over my sleep.” I was quick enough to fling a question at him, “So you think it was guilt which made him take his life?”. “Yes” he said. “I spoke to him 2 days before he took the drastic step and he told me, once he was sent to Tihar jail guilt and fear started haunting him. At first he was unable to talk to any of his inmates as they constantly gave him stares which said “How could you do THAT!!” and some groups clearly treated him as an outcast. Later he started hearing about the nation wide protest and the social media being bombarded with their heartfelt sympathies to the victim and also suggestions of punishments to rape accused in line with those in middle-east nations. Some inmates even started spreading false rumors about those punishments being considered for this one-off case. Add to it he was constantly reading how the victim’s condition deteriorated in the hospital before she passed away. He could rarely express to anyone about how he felt. All these things started playing on his mind and slowly he started losing his sleep due to preoccupied thoughts. Fear and restlessness plagued him every moment. Finally he started feeling guilty as hell about what he had done. He also started living the entire incident and blaming himself entirely for it. Thus he decided to make away with himself. I have been losing my sleep off-late and I dont know what will be my fate”. After speaking this much, he never opened his mouth again till we reached the destination. I then looked at C who was sweating profusely after hearing to A. “Do you think any patient will feel safe in a hospital after they come to know of a ward boy like you who can rape his own patient?” He broke down instantly, ” Please request a death penalty for me. I am very scared, dont want to die like A’s friend. Back in my hometown, people have stopped visiting my house. In my hometown people are very strict about women being ill-treated. I have known of several instances where family was banished and in some cases vengeance took its way. In a particular case the mutilated body of the person accused for molesting a young girl was found lying in the woods. My father has stopped going to work after a co-worked abused him for having a son like me. Yesterday there was news of stones being pelted at my house. If at all the court does not give me a death penalty, people from my hometown surely will.” B still remained silent. He was caught by people and was handed over to police to whom he had confessed his crime.” I think the human race has never produced a monster like me. My act of desperation has changed the definition of a human being. I do not even deserve the right to talk. The day I am sent to solitary confinement, I shall cut myself to death inch by inch”.There was a long drawn silence for next few minutes. “As a common man, I feel scared”, I said. “We talk about advancements in the field of technology where you can actually map your thoughts and visualize them. But with men like you, I think we are repressively evolving. We have reached the outer space but failed to see the human side within us which makes us indifferent from several other species.”
I had got all my answers before the media trial had begun.I was sitting with 3 men who had not only killed humanity but also had almost killed themselves. For the rest of the night I did not want to be part of conversation which would be sensationalized entertainment in public. I wanted answers to the million questions that were buzzing around me. As the vehicle reached the back gate of the studio, I got down from the vehicle, switched off my cell phone and quietly moved out into the dark. Do we need to improve our value system? Do we need to re-define our outlook towards women? Do we need to implement quick justice system for culprits? Lot of questions around but very limited answers which would actually solve the crisis at hand.