“Take care of the wild beasts of the forest ” her father said. Her father Keshav Ram, might’ve referred to the elusive Himalayan brown bear or maybe even the occasional leopard that occasionally does frequent these parts of the forest. It’s okay papa, no one can harm me she replied, trying to put his mind at ease. Little did they both realize that far sinister predators lived in these of the woods. She had only joined the secondary school just under two months prior. She would often take the solitary and forested walk back with her brother after class but on July 5, she decided to make the trek back home by herself. She would never make it home.
The day after, a search party managed to find her body in the woods. A cursory look at the photographs as gruesome as they are, show the brutality of the murderers. Not only was she completely stripped of her clothes, but she was thrown into a ditch after being repeatedly gang raped by six adult males reportedly from 19 to 42. She was bitten several times, and then finally strangulated. A cursory look at the photographs also show that she probably endured even more horrendous pain as her hip joints look to be completely dislocated. Whether this was completed before or after the fall is hard to say.
Even with such a heinous and brutal crime of minor, the state police initially seemed rather apathetic in trying to make any headway in the case. When photographs of her horrendous torture spread rapidly via social media sites and people took to the street in masses, only then did the local police force feel compelled to take some action. However, the action they seem to have taken, supported by the local Congress leaders seems to have infuriated the Himalayan state even further. The quiet calm of Kotkhai, has been resounding with justice for Gudiya for the last 15 days after. So what, really led to this huge outpouring of support and why does it seem to garner so much strength?
The people of the Himalayan state are furious not only with the lackadaisical approach of the police force but also a probable attempt at shielding some of the real accused.
Let’s go through some of the timeline so that we can understand what’s really happening. While the initial murder happened on July 5th, July 9th Zahur Zaidi was called in to replace DW Negi SP in Shimla. Thereafter on July 12th the police initially decided to arrest six youth in connection with a crime. Pictures of the accused were even released by the chief minister’s office Virbhadra Singh before shortly being taken off the website later during the day. Shortly after that another six youth were apprehended by the police with only one of the original six being present on the list.
Suraj Singh was one of the accused and was a poor Nepali farmworker. His wife was later interviewed and stated that Suraj had been with her the whole day as they worked in the orchards. Later on in the day, Rajinder Singh or Raju for short, who was good friends to Suraj also came to them later in the day with two unknown other men. They seemed to have promised, Suraj all he had dreamed for and more with regard getting his farm back in Nepal and a lump sum of money so that his family could finally enjoy the good things in life.
The deal according to his wife was set so that he would only spend six months in jail. A desperate Suraj, seemed to have agreed to the terms and was taken to the local police station along with his Nepalese friend Raju. The following day he was dead, having been killed in the Jail itself, by his good friend Raju who strangled him in the middle of the night with the guard sleeping.
Later on in the day another large gathering took place outside the police station and ransacked it in frustration over Suraj the accused being killed in jail. Even Keshav Ram, Gudiya’s father has often stated that it’s not poor Nepalese laborers who are responsible for his daughter’s death, but high placed landowners who can buy themselves out through money and corruption through the state machinery.
Initially the chief minister of the state Virbhadra Singh, first rejected a CBI probe stating that the local police were competent enough to investigate the matter. He finally bent down to pressure to agreeing for a CBI probe but not before he started accusing the BJP of ‘creating crowds’ for its own political agenda. This seems to have even aggravated the populace even more.
There’s still many unanswered questions that the CBI now having arrived in the state will look to ascertain. Why was the initial police chief transferred? Why were the original six accused that were posted quickly changed to a new list? How is it possible that Suraj Singh could be killed by his own friend Raju in police custody? Can Suraj Singh’s wife identify the two unknown men who came to them that night with such a deal?
What is shocking however, is that every few months a horrendous crime seems to occur involving helpless women by gangs of men. From Nirbhaya, to the 23-year-old who was sexually assaulted and smashed later with bricks in Rohtak Haryana, to now the horrific crime with Gudiya in Himachal. How is it possible that some of us can lead to such horrendous acts of violence simply by gathering together in a mob. Unfortunately, it seems that not even the death penalty that was upheld by the Supreme Court for Nirbhaya has not led to any fear among these mob rapists.
Indeed, not even the fear of sure certainty of a painful death is enough to intimidate men once they congregate into a mob with a solitary woman. How then do we take on such regularity of crimes?
It is my opinion that men congregate into such mobs do have a violent personality disorder. If it was not Gudiya, it was bound to be someone else. Men such as these are predators that will seek to satisfy their own hunger with violent outcomes. All we can do is ensure that there is speedy justice and a quick death sentence for all those that are truly involved. For those that have looked to ‘buy out’ poor farm laborers to take their place have only delayed time till another Gudiya happens. A violent and sick mind cannot be told to change his natural predatory instinct. Those that have looked to shield the actual violent accused should also be charged with second-degree murder, no matter how well connected and powerful they may be. It is imperative that the CBI, make a honest and rapid assessment to make sure that this does not lead to a further repeat instance of another gruesome murder.
Justice for Gudiya has been another eye opener for many across India to the unspeakable acts of violence that we are capable of. Many of us may be familiar with the concept of Ahimsa, NOT Nonviolence but doing the LEAST violence to mankind as a whole. This may mean sometimes that carrying out the death penalty quickly for those accused in the Gudiya case, leads to less harm for all of us living peacefully in our own communities.
#Justice for Gudiya!