In conversation with Sushant Singh

Sushant Singh opposes death penalty for rapists of victims below 12 years

Sushant Singh, anchor of the just-wrapped-up, long-running crime show, Savdhaan India, is not in favor of the new law prescribing death penalty for those who rape girls below 12 years of age.

“We already have a lot of laws to deal with all crimes, including rape and murder. There is no empirical evidence to show that quantum of punishment really serves as a deterrent. What we really need is speedy investigations and time-bound trials, resulting in convictions. If the cops fail to file the chargesheet in the stipulated timeframe, they need to be hauled over the coals as well. These tougher laws are just token measures to assuage public anger.”

“Also, does the new law mean that it is a lesser offence to rape a 13 year old?” Here, he refuses to get into the debate of whether capital punishment should stay in the statuette books. “The moot question, rather, should be how to insulate the judiciary and police from political interference. Sooner or later, this will need to stop, if we want a just society.”

He accepts that both Nirbhaya and Kathua moves have become political. “This was bound to happen. I see it in a different light i.e  it is good that civil society plunged into both.”

While expressing concern over rising incidents of sexual abuse all over the country, Sushant also cautions against false rape cases. “Recently, I visited Amboli police station (Mumbai area), where the concerned investigation officer said that 90% of rape cases are false. I can’t vouch for what he said, but yes, the national average is about 50%, as suggested by data.”

“If the rape accused needs to face justice, should women who file false complaints also not face the music? Recently, one such Delhi lady was jailed. Many more need to go behind bars too. Similarly, false domestic abuse cases are also rampant. It is very important that such unscrupulous women are weeded out, for they damage the prospects of real rape and domestic violence victims, who also end up being viewed with suspicion.”

In closing, Sushant says, “Real change will only come about when society starts to accept both boys and girls as equal, and boys need to be taught what is right or wrong. Sadly, all these changes can only happen if we attain 100% basic literacy. Most governments don’t want the public to get educated, as making the public educated, will make the same public question them.”

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