A lynch mob in the Indian state of Nagaland broke into a jail and hung a suspected rapist in public on Thursday night. Whoa – we all knew India needed to step up it’s game when it comes to ending the country’s rape culture, but is a lynch mob the best they could come up with?
Thousands of furious Indians swarmed the streets and broke into the Central Jail in the city of Dimapur, where they stripped and beat Syed Farid Khan, a Muslim immigrant from neighboring Bangladesh who was accused of raping a 19-year-old Naga tribal woman multiple times. The crowd then tied his body to a motorcycle and dragged it 7 kilometers to a clock tower, where he was strung up for display. And just in case that wasn’t enough, the violent mob also destroyed Muslims’ houses and shops in town.
Khan’s brother has accused police of falsely implicating his brother in the rape to try to root out non-tribals from Nagaland, which is predominantly Christian. Apparently indigenous groups have long accused Muslim migrants from Bangladesh of illegally grabbing their fertile land and have previously campaigned to evict Bengali-speaking immigrants from their territory. But the girl is sticking to her story and town police superintendent Meren Jamir said her initial medical report “confirmed rape and other … injuries on her body”.
Well, I certainly hope Khan was guilty because that was a fairly brutal way to go – especially considering he hadn’t even gone to trial yet. If corruption in India lets rapists get away with their crimes, it’s quite likely that it also gets innocent men arrested for rapes committed by others. Maybe India should hold off on the mob justice for now… or at least until after the trial?
Khan’s lynching coincides with controversy over a government order to ban the broadcasting of India’s Daughter, a documentary about the fatal gang-rape in December 2012 of a young student in New Delhi. The film by award-winning Briton Leslee Udwin features conversations with Mukesh Singh and fellow convicts who raped and tortured the 23-year-old woman on a moving bus.
In the documentary, Mukesh blames the victim for the crime and resisting rape. He also says women are more responsible than men for rape.
“You can’t clap with one hand — it takes two hands,” he says in the film.
“A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy …. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things. About 20 per cent of girls are good.”
The documentary was due to air on the Indian news channel NDTV to mark International Women’s Day but was dropped after the government intervened.
The Indian government also asked YouTube to block global access to the documentary. Unfortunately for them, asking for a worldwide ban is the pretty much the most effective way to get the entire world to watch it. Didn’t they learn anything from watching Kim Jong un freak out over The Interview?