1. Minors Book Party at the Pub: The Insomani pub at the posh Jubilee Hills area of Hyderabad was booked by minors for an afternoon party for around 150. The eventual turnout at the party was over 180, the pub manager revealed. It was “clarified” that the pub was booked only for a non-alcoholic menu service, and a “strict vigil” was kept on ensuring booze and drugs were not allowed. Should a pub allow minors to do a party when they would not order alcohol?
2. Sons of Powerful People: The SOPP brat is everywhere. At our luckiest best, they are only a big nuisance to society, comprising of people who are far weaker than his father or mother. They can get away with anything; they know it, and they ensure everyone around does too. Minors who were misled for long into thinking no law applies to them were at the party. They see some girls, harass them, and then, eventually, gang rape them. Why should the script change now, they ponder?
3. Police Report: The Indian police don’t always (or usually) operate by the rule book, the law or constitution unless when under pressure to do so. They go by the power equation between the victim and the accused. The police did not register a case for over 72 hours in this, given that there were clearly sons of very powerful people – at that time presumably – grandson of the Telangana State Home Minister, son of an MLA of the AIAMIM, son of a Wakf Board member, and son a ruling TRS party, among others. So the police did not register a case. When will people act as per law, straightaway?
4. Victim Shaming: Here we go again. Once the case acquired media interest and began to hit headlines, the accused or their sympathisers released pics of the girl in the red Mercedes Benz car with the four accused. A truncated video clip was also released (police are now investigating if the accused released the clips). The reactions from one section was predictably shameful and disgusting – this is about a minor rape victim – why did she wear such clothes, does look like she is consenting and does this look like rape? When will be learn to focus on the criminal and not the victim?
5. System Servicing Privilege: The rape took place in an official Innova. It has been purchased a few years ago but does not have a registration number. The car was found abandoned at a farmhouse, all evidence destroyed. The CCTV footage at the pub and other strategic road traffic points were all “edited” too. Hyderabad has a huge network of CCTVs paid for by taxpayers. But they somehow stop working at crucial times, when there is evidence against someone of privilege. When will CCTV cameras work despite a son of privilege doing a crime?
6. Political Whistleblowing: The case would have died in a natural course, with the entire might of the system putting pressure on the victim and her family, making it impossible to register cases, but for a whistle-blower. The politician to the rescue here is BJP MLA and lawyer M. Raghunandan Rao, who perhaps could not help notice that all the accused were Muslims. He released a video and pics, though hiding details of the victim, were still damaging. But in all fairness, allegations of communal motive aside, his press conference pushed the police to act.
7. Police Clean Chit: After not registering a case for days, the police finally swung into action – with its press conference by a senior officer, who used the occasion to firstly give a clean chit to the all-powerful involved, saying no son of an MLA or grandson of a minister was involved. When will cops stop investigating a case without giving a judgment beforehand?
8. Communalising Everything: Everything is communal. Rape is not a rape which deserves our condemnation until we have checked the identities. If the accused shares our identity, it becomes a “mistake”. Nobody reacts to facts until we have checked and ensured our reactions are convenient for our identity. When will identity become secondary to the truth?
9. Pandering Media: There were three reported cases of gang rapes of minors in Hyderabad during the last seven days. Yes, three minors were gang-raped in one week. All rapes are not equal. It is the media which decides which ones to shed light on, and all disproportionate outrage plays out. Everyone must harness the opportunity to indulge in virtue signalling – on the right cases. The media highlighted ones. When will justice be delivered without media attention?
10. Sensation Seeking Society: At some point, finally, the public opinion has turned against the rape accused. The victim was not as weak as the police thought. Son of Chief Minister and IT Minister K. T. Rama Rao tweeted, demanding the home minister and DGP to act. Action. Like a movie director’s command, within a few days, all five of the accused are arrested. Clearly, the law can act. But at the behest of the right person. Like a recipe, all the right ingredients must work in a way. And society is now aghast, angry, and upset – some of the accused are minors and can’t be tried for it except as Juveniles. Hang them, shoot them, burn them – many moralists are arguing on social media. When will society stop being its own enemy?