• mid-day editorial: A chance to minister justice to women

    mid-day correspondentMar 16, 2017, 06:03 IST

    A former minister in Uttar Pradesh, Gayatri Prajapati, was arrested in the state capital, Lucknow, after accusations of involvement in a gang rape. This, after being on the run for a month, reports stated.

    The police have registered a case against him and three others for allegedly gang-raping a woman and molesting her daughter, a minor, nearly three years ago. Though the minister has, of course, denied all allegations, a court has sent him into judicial custody for two weeks to allow the police to question him.

    This has been such a hard road for the complainants, with so much pressure at every step. Allegations were made in 2014, but a case was registered only last month. The current climate of sexual violence in this country shows no sign of abating. Today, we are seeing women targeted at the workplace, in medical institutions, in homes, in academic institutions and, of course, on the roads. Public spaces are shrinking for women, and it is in light of these facts that the arrest assumes dimensions beyond this case alone.

    First, of course, is the message that the powerful should not and will not get away scot-free. If there is some solace in this arrest, it is precisely that that the minister cannot run any longer. It also sends a message that the government is intent on tackling sex crimes.

    In its own way, it may give other women the courage to complain if they have been or are being targeted. Every arrest, every attempt to bring justice to the survivor, may give another woman hope and courage. High-profile cases like the above, especially, are litmus tests of whether all those promises to book the connected and powerful are true or simply lip service. This city, and the nation, will be looking closely at this case.

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