Shooting rapists is no answer
Justice is not achieved through extrajudicial killings, said Partha Chakrabartty. Last week, police arrested the four men suspected of ambushing, brutally raping, and strangling a 27-year-old veterinarian in Hyderabad. But there will be no trial, because the police fatally shot all four suspects. The accused had been taken to the rape site for a nighttime reconstruction of the crime; officers said the suspects tried to grab their guns, leading police to open fire in self-defense. “But not even those offering this excuse really believe in it themselves.” Locals celebrated the deaths—some villagers even showered the officers turned executioners with candy—but we should not, lest mob justice become the norm. “Just as the crowds were baying for the blood of these four accused, so, too, other crowds have bayed for the blood of journalists, activists, and student protesters.” Do we want all of them shot too? In any case, killing rapists doesn’t deter rape, as the experience of countries such as Pakistan that have the death penalty for rape has shown. Instead, India needs “comprehensive reform, not just of our police but also of what we teach our young boys and men.” Kenya has a successful education program to “challenge rampant misogyny” that we could emulate. Our focus should be not on lynching rapists but on preventing rapes.