Never before have I found myself questioning our moral compass as a society as I do today.
First, the men who were convicted for the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of her family were released early from jail in Gujarat for “good behaviour”.
If that wasn’t outrageous enough, the convicts were greeted with garlands and sweets when they were released. We were told by a BJP lawmaker that they are upper caste Hindus, with “good values”. The case is now before the Supreme Court.
There has been huge outrage in the media over Bilkis though I believe we are still not outraged enough as a society.
Silence of public figures
Bollywood celebrities like Priyanka Chopra find time to comment and show solidarity with women protestors in Iran, but have stayed silent on Bilkis.
The Aam Aadmi party or the AAP, which has emerged as a key player in Gujarat, has kept a shameful silence on Bilkis because they fear it would be politically inconvenient to speak up.
India’s women and child minister who is otherwise very vocal on key issues, has lost her voice when it comes to Bilkis. It is truly a race to the bottom.
But now, another convicted rapist and murderer has got 40 days of parole and is being feted by politicians and by large masses of people.
The head of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, was convicted in 2017 for the rape of two of his disciples. He was also convicted in 2019 for the murder of a journalist more than 16 years ago.
Ram Rahim though is having the time of his life while on parole. Shortly after his release, he hosted a virtual 'satsang' event from Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat, which was attended by several politicians, including the mayor of Haryana's Karnal and several leaders of the ruling party.
Never mind that the BJP keeps talking about ‘naari shakti’ or women power. Those are just hollow words.
It isn’t the first time Ram Rahim has got of jail. Somehow, the Dera chief gets parole every time there is an election. This time, Haryana is heading for panchayat elections and by-polls for the Adampur assembly constituency on the erred of November.
Earlier, the Dera chief was released in June on parole for a month, which was ahead of elections to 46 civic bodies. In February, ahead of the Punjab assembly elections, he was given three weeks' furlough.
This time, Ram rahim is really living it up. He even made a Diwali music video with had millions of views in 3 days on his YouTube channel.
So what does that say about us, that so many millions of people logged on to watch and like a convicted rapist’s music video.
Do we have a moral compass anymore? Have we become so bankrupt as a society that we no longer see these crimes for what they are? The answers leave one in despair.