The moniker of "Crane Bedi" that I got during my stint with Delhi Traffic Police forms the essence of this blog. A crane clears the way and makes pathways. This is where I express my thoughts and share my experiences and concerns for a better world.
Kiran Bedi is a retired Indian Police Service officer, social activist, former tennis player and politician who is the current Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry. She is the first woman to join the Indian Police Service.
It's a horror story a true story still unravelling as I write. It is about what could happen to our lost children.How vital it is to do all that must be done to save them from the clutches of necrophiliacs and others prowling the streets and bylanes to steal and whisk away vulnerable children.
Victims of the most gruesome crime are children of the poor, below 10 years of age, playing by themselves, not far away from their mothers or homes. Or falling prey to the lure of sweets or other attractions. Their parents are mostly labourers, daily-wagers, living on sites or sleeping off the roads.
I am provoked to write this piece after I read a news story of yet another child rapist. Not long ago, we had a similar horrific case in Noida, in a village called Nithari when several children had gone missing and bones were found thrown in a drain outside the culprits' house.
The rapist-murderer was a known cannibal and is in jail, awaiting execution. (Still) I decided to analyse it for our readers to enhance some understanding, which will hopefully prevent wherever possible.
But this story will have to be read out to vulnerable sections which may not be aware of such monsters walking our streets to steal our innocents to fulfil their sexual addiction with children.
Here is the case in reference: "At 17, his first crime was a rape & murder..." The accused, Ravinder Kumar, 24, just a 5-foot-5-inch man, said that after he got away the first time, probably when he was 17, it made him confident. He confessed to the police that he was always on the lookout for the next child-victim.
He has been raping children, dead or alive, over the past seven years. He disclosed that he would drink, take drugs with his friends, watch porn and go 'hunting' for a child to be sexually abused.
He did go to red-light areas to get sex, but he had no money, so he picked up children for free. Also, those in brothels were higher in age. He preferred younger.
He went around loitering in colonies looking for children outside their house or near latrines, luring them or even lifting them at midnight, asleep beside their mothers. He would just pick up those who refused to get tempted by sweets and simply gag and whisk them away. He would then take them to an isolated place, silence them by throttling them, and then rape their bodies. After fulfilling his lust, he dumped the bodies in a drain or a ditch and walk away, not to return to the same vicinity for some months to avoid getting caught.
He disclosed that he got this idea after seeing a Hindi film called 'Samne' where the actor did exactly this.
Currently, the accused is taking the police to all places he is recalling where he picked up children to satiate his lust. Till now, the figure is astounding, it's increasing by the day.
Tragically, in one case which he pointed out, the father of the deceased girl is in jail. He was considered the accused by the area police. Obviously, it's a false investigation as the real criminal is this rapist caught now, who has confessed to having raped the child and thrown her away.
Prey to necrophilia
Curious to get to the root cause and explore when and how this addiction began? Any person who seeks out children for sexual arousal by corpses is known to be suffering from necrophilia.
What had his parents to say? I tracked the case with cops. I learnt that the mother, as expected, is in denial, saying that he has been framed.
She does not disclose that she would have no clue as what her son was doing, and why would he be away for long periods. She also did not know that her son was sodomised as a child. Another son of hers too had run away from home on being beaten.
The father, a plumber from Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, left his village, Ganjduware, for Delhi, for want of work.
He, too, had no clue what the son was up to. He appears to be having no capability of handing his six children. (Not known yet what other five are contributing and whether they were aware of their brother. Interrogation so far revealed one among them knew).
This is the family profile: poor, unemployed, children living off the streets, growing up with bad friends who drink, watch porn, rape and rob.
There is a need to comment on the police and the courts too. Ravinder was arrested by the police last year, for a similar offence. His earlier crimes seem to have not surfaced. I say so because this offender was released on bail, because the boy he sodomised escaped death by a whisker. A case was registered. But during the investigations, because the rapist was not recognised, he was released on bail.
My anger is with police, prosecutor and the courts. Police seems to have not interrogated him enough. Had all this been unearthed, many more children's lives could have been saved as he continued to rape while on bail.
Armed with the past record, the prosecutor could have prevented grant of bail by placing solid evidence before the court to deny bail to this rapist. The court granted bail without taking serious sureties in such a heinous offence. In such a case, he could have been on conditional bail, like reporting to the nearest police station and an NGO, for a close watch.
All three apparently took this case as one of the many, not knowing that this criminal is an addict who is on a daily prowl for child victims.
So what do we learn from all this?
Becoming parents is nature's blessing. But nurturance is their essential responsibility. Parents may be poor but what their children are doing with their lives is their bounded duty to know. This applies to bringing up sons in particular.
Watch over your growing-up sons. The company they keep and habits being formed. They could one day drive parents into jail too.
Parents must look after their children. Do not let them alone in parks. Keep an eye on them. They must report crimes or suspects. In many cases, being migrants, children go missing, but also go unreported. To prevent crimes and get such criminals caught, registration of crime is essential.
Thorough investigations with comprehensive interrogations are critical to further crime prevention. It unearths past criminal acts and increases possibilities of bail refusal. Effective interrogation is crime prevention for present and future.
In such crimes, easy bail can prove disastrous, as it did in this case. Conditional bail, such as periodic visit to a police station or an NGO for attendance, and possible rehabilitation and watch can prevent repeat crime.
Without this, in totality, children, mostly girls, will continue to be lost to such necrophiliacs and research shows such cases are on the increase.
We are a different person in our country. But our behaviour undergoes a drastic change when we travel overseas, especially to the West.
During my recent trip to a western country, I decided to keep a mental note of all changes that happen to understand this natural transformation. Let me share my observations.
Beginning from the check-in
If you are in a rush you can push your way around. There would always be somebody available for help. And if you are a bit known face, assistance comes to you on its own. The 'help' will escort you to the waiting lounge carrying your handbags. Your 'assistant' will hang around till he sees you off at the boarding gate. Before leaving, the person would ensure a photograph (selfie these days) with you for his Facebook page.
Does this happen overseas? No way.
Aboard the flight…
If on a flight other than Air India or Jet, (meaning our desi flights) every time you ask for some help, you will say a thank you several times. This is the beginning of change. And if a flight attendant is a westerner, you will think twice before asking for anything extra - even a glass of water.
If you were dozing off at the time when the food was being served, you miss it. You will not get it. Time is up for serving. No point asking. You are late. You bear it...Simple! You don't complain, but accept it. (This is the second change). Had you been on a desi flight, you would have complained and created s scene.
After you get off the plane …
You meekly go and stand in the queue…whoever you may be, you hear a voice, follow the line, and you obey, holding your handbags. The queue is moving at snail's pace, but you don't complain. When you reach at the other end, a mechanical voice tells you to go to next counter. You follow instructions. (third change).
At the immigration counter…
You give your immigration form and the official finds some columns not properly filled. He tells you to go back and refill the form. You quietly go, complete the form and stand in the queue again. You dare not ask for an out-of--turn favour. This is the rule, and you follow it. (fourth change)
Now you pick up your heavy strolleys from the luggage belt. You want a baggage trolley. You pull it, but it's locked. You won't get it till you put in some dollars - cash or credit card. You learn to do it. (fifth change ). Remember your home airport, where it was all free. You curse them, but you need the trolleys. So you pay up grudgingly...
At the exit gate…
If you have to take a taxi, you move into the queue again and can't jump it. And if you are to be picked up by a relative, you call him up. As the person concerned can't be waiting at the airport due to no- parking, he is either in the parking lot or going around in circles waiting for your call. When you are being driven home, you put on your seat belt, realising that if you are caught, you won't be spared. The traffic ticket is steep and you are afraid of heavy fine. The fear of law grips you suddenly. (sixth change)
At your friend/relative's house
There is no house help for your luggage. You help yourself. There is no cook. The host serves you. And you say a thank you many times. The host cleans your cup. The next time you offer to clean it, but the host does/ or does not let you, will depend on him. Same goes for meals.
You either cook, or go and buy cooked food. Eat it outside or come home and eat it. If cooked at home, clean the kitchen and the utensils yourself. (seventh change) There is no house help, the kind we have in India, unless you are super rich... Meeting you contacts…
Now you wish to call up your contacts. But if it's a weekend, then it's s strict no. It's bad manners to intrude into people's lives on weekends. So, H you leave a message and wait. You learn to respect people's space. (eight change)
You go and meet people after taking a proper appointment. You don't just barge in. (I'm excluding close relatives).You don't take anyone or their time for granted. (ninth change)
You speak softly on your mobile phone. You also don't leave wrappers or garbage behind. (tenth change)
But the moment we step on out land, we are back to square one. We start complaining about others, but remain who we are. We don't have fear of law or its enforcement agencies. If we are caught, we arm-twist, pull strings and do whatever we can to get out of the sticky situation.