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!