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Justice shining?

I am trying to stifle the fan within me as I write this post, because objectivity is important. There is a 4-letter word doing the rounds on Indian news channels and I cannot hold my silence any more. My intention here is merely to weigh the arguments I have been constructing in my head since June 16, rant about the media, and assess the state of affairs in my dear country.

If you haven’t figured out yet, I am talking about Shiney Ahuja. The 4-letter word is rape.

I quote from Wikipedia (which I am way more tempted to trust as a source than everything that appears as breaking news on CNN IBN, NDTV, Headlines Today and the like):

On the evening of Sunday, June 14 2009, a household maid working at Ahuja’s house lodged a compliant with the Mumbai Police alleging that Ahuja raped her when they were alone that same afternoon. She further claimed that he threatened her life to prevent her from disclosing the incident.

At first glance, or if you have already been victimized by the media’s daily rants during the initial days of his arrest, the case might sound straightforward. He’s a celebrity and a guy, she’s female and she’s poor. He HAS to be wrong.

Before you cringe at where this post might lead, remember that I belong to the weaker sex, and I am very aware of the extent to which mankind is capable of stooping. I know that everyday, our country witnesses a shameful number of rape cases, in the Capital, in The Valley, even in our City of dreams.

In a country so frequented by this heinous crime therefore, an accused person is deemed guilty until proven otherwise. And of course, our media ensured it stands by that.

1. He is a celebrity: Weakest argument. Think about it; given his status and physical appearance, he could, forgive my candor, indeed get paid for the act that he allegedly forcibly performed on his victim.  In fact, the very celebrity status makes it that much easier and tempting to frame him.

2. The victim’s testimony: Gone are the days when a woman’s dignity, her pride in her sanctity, could be taken at face value and her word accepted as evidence. The greed for money has darkened even the virtue of innocence our society once hailed as sacred; undoubtedly we have progressed, and going by the case made for The White Tiger, it may even be justified. A conspiracy theory about the victim’s boyfriend being in huge debt is already breaking the news.

3. He confessed: So says the media, as tipped by the police. I hate to say it, but if the prevalence of corruption among our safe-keeping force is to be believed, my best guess is that it couldn’t find a better source of income than demanding bribe of a celebrity. According to his lawyer though, he has made no such confession. Either way, any confession made out of court is not accepted by the law as evidence.

4. His marital relationship: This is when the media retracted its endless accusations and began considering the possibility of Shiney being framed. So far, he was also being accused of a failed marriage, by you know who. But in what I can only describe as a brave press conference, his wife gracefully stepped into the limelight and vouched for her husband.

I would love to hear your take if you have been following this case as closely as me.

I must agree and admit that in an accusation as sensitive and private as rape, evidence is hard to accumulate, and therefore justice hard to administer to either of the involved parties. I sure hope that the truth will surface in this, and in all such cases.

May justice prevail.

PS: On a lighter note & like my friend aptly said, Bollywood is fast!

8 Comments

  1. Shiney is one of the better actors in this industry today but one who has no god-fathers or superstar dads or moms to support him. I too feel he has been framed and waiting eagerly for the court hearing. As far as the Indian media is concerned! I don’t care what they say! It is all gossip these days!
    But then if he is being victimized, who is doing it becomes the big question!
    I am glad his wife is standing by him.

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  2. I kinda disagree with your celebrity argument. True, in this case, he’s pretty much guilty until proven innocent. But I don’t think its because he’s a celeb, I think its because he’s a man.

    On a totally unrelated note, do check this out and tell me if you like it… http://acomicaday.wordpress.com/

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  3. Problem is the TV Channels doing give you a choice..they are on to the story like Rabid Dogs…in a way they make up your mind for you…
    Dont know much about this actor but I’ve seen his wife defend him..either shes a better actor than him or he is really being framed..

    By the way the story has already died down…

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  4. well… its difficult to say… neither I know the accused in person, nor do I know the victim… but yes, there’s forensic science that can easily throw light on what has actually happened and what has not…

    your arguments are thought provoking, nevertheless..

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  5. I really can’t understand and how can we? Except for the two people involved, how can anyone else know the truth except :
    1. There were witnesses.(In this case, there were none)
    2. The culprit confessed. (he didn’t)
    Rest is all speculation and nothing else.

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  6. Avinash says

    The role of the media in reinforcing the ‘guilty until proven innocent’ stand is an altogether different issue. There are many more agencies or individual powerhouses who would reiterate and try to prove the ‘crook until ascertained a victim’ argument. I appreciate the objective and fair evaluation of the case from both angles made in this post.

    However, of the four points mentioned, I would differ in perspective with the first. I appreciate your candor and would join you in saying that this probably is the most believed but unexpressed sentiment. But Shiney’s status, money worth, appearance, popularity and may be the willingness of some to pay* in the past, might as well have corrupted his reason and morality and led him to commit a crime which he didn’t expect and foresee to be one. If it is anywhere close to sex by consent, an altogether dimension is added to the spectrum. So instead of a bird’s eye view opinion on such a sensitive case, what is needed is a full, consistent, credible and objective investigation to uncover the facts as they were.

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  7. @ Varun: Absolutely, a self-made actor. Yeap, it is indeed his wife’s support that threw new light upon the case. Let’s wait and watch the verdict, for it’s all we can do.

    @ Pranav: So says one of his kind! But yeah, I can’t disagree. His being a man is the one thing that goes against him.

    @ Vijay: I hope for the latter. Yeap, I know the story died down before my post, but I couldn’t take it upon me to hold my silence.

    @ Chiranjib: Unfortunately, in a crime such as this, it has become too easy to forge evidence, even upon one’s own body. Like i said, there is no limit anymore to the extent one would go to find money.

    @ Amit: Agreed. Then again, we might never know the truth due to the very absence of witnesses and an honest confession. I’m just speculating with all my logic, because the media seems to be putting words in everyone’s mouth.

    @ Avinash: I agree with your point. But the very fact that his so-called confession of ‘consensual sex’ is questionable makes me want to question the authenticity of ALL parties involved (the police et al), which definitely infuriates me. Definitely, an honest investigation (often hard to come by) is needed. It’ll be shameful either way. If he is guilty, then for obvious reasons, and if he’s being framed, then for the way a woman is ready to sacrifice her dignity in exchange for money. I honestly hope that the truth can be uncovered.

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  8. Hemant A. says

    Good read. You could’ve followed it up post-verdict and that would’ve silenced those reading between lines and calling your bias.

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