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October 26, 1998


How Readers responded to Vir Sanghvi's last column

Date sent: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 07:58:33 -0700
From: "Chandru Narayan" <>
Subject: Vir Sanghvi on RAPE

Several of the rich and the powerful rape the poor and the illiterate. Several of our ministers and elected officials are also in that rape game. No worthwhile law can be formulated when top citizens are involved in it. The public and the police will ask the victim why she ventured at that time there. They will put her down.

Advani is right in saying that we should have the death penalty for rape. After all, the victim is a living dead person after the rape. In the case of the Christian nuns, the Sangh Parivar should not treat it as "none of our business." Remember, we have a Christian, Sonia, who will take full advantage of the political void created by inaction.

Date sent: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 10:35:39 -0400
From: Amit Samant <>

Mr Vir Sanghvi is absolutely right as usual. But sadly, there are so few Indian males who would share his view. I do. I still remember seeing the movie Bandit Queen in Chanakya theatre in Delhi. While we were all feeling quite horrified at the rape scenes, the average Indian male was enjoying it! I think the basic problem lies with the status Indian men give women in the society. For me, women are a much more valuable element of the society than men because they are the ones who give birth to our future generation. By not giving them their due, our society disrespects itself and that is a really sad thing!

Amit Samant

Date sent: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 17:15:32 +0530
From: N M Ganesh <>
Subject: Rape is more than murder

Vir Sanghvi seems to think "Rape is not as heinous as Murder". My opinion is that rape is even more serious than murder. It takes more time to rape than it does to kill a person and in most cases people know what they are up to while raping a person. While the death penalty can be made applicable only to the rarest of the rare murder cases, where there is meticulous planning involved or where there is organised crime against the normal functioning of the society, I think it is enough to prove that a rape was committed.

Date sent: Wed, 14 Oct 1998 23:00:49 -0700
From: "Nithyanand Tirupattur" <>
Subject: Rape Is Murder by Vir Sanghvi

I found the column by Mr Vir Sanghvi very interesting. The writer questions capital punishment. Does it really solve the problem? The police may use such a provision to book innocents.

The need of the hour is a debate on this. I feel the writer is right when he talks about the victim. He is also right in pointing that there are fewer rape cases in Western countries, where they do not give capital punishment to rapists. It is surprising to note the alarming rate of rape cases in India, where people always claim that women are more respected.

The home minister has clearly spelled out the government policy. But what about the victim? If our government is serious about rape, then it should educate society including the police as to how the victim needs to be treated. The government needs to spell out more clearly how serious it is about implementing the Human Rights of the Rape victim.

The need of the hour is to address:

How can the society stand by the victim? The Indian attitude towards the victim has to undergo a complete change.

As for the police force, the less said about its trust-worthiness the better it is.

Will the media address such issues more seriously rather than merely give banner headlines for two days? The media plays a major role in educating the society.


Date sent: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 03:45:30 PDT
From: "Murali C" <>
Subject: Vir Sanghvi's column

I would like to bring to your attention that Advani suggested the following some three months before this incident took place:

1. Capital punishment for rape.
2. Burden of proof on the accused

I guess it is the second suggestion that is more radical than the first, for it'll definitely help more victims come out to lodge complaints.


Date sent: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 06:16:02 +0300
From: "P.O. Thomas Panicker Kuwait" <>
Subject: Rape victims

In India, the punishment for crime is very little. Our legal system is 100 years old. We say 'life imprisoment', but actually it is only for 14 years.

Date sent: Wed, 14 Oct 1998 19:43:42 -0700
From: Kris Chandrasekar <>
Subject: Death penalty for murder, rape

That death penalty has not been a deterrent is often put forward by opponents to the death penalty. Let's devise a system whereby murder, unless clearly in self-defence, and rape are punishable by death, period. I guarantee you it will be a deterrent.

At the risk of seeming unfashionable, I have to say that a developing country like India can't afford to be ambivalent about these issues. How do you think a society like Singapore compares to the US in terms of these crimes? It ain't by accident.

Kris Chandrasekar

Date sent: Wed, 14 Oct 1998 18:42:32 -0500
From: Sankar Padmanabhan <>
Subject: Rape Is Murder

Your article sure has a typical Leftist touch (Pardon me for replacing liberal with Leftist, but it looked appropriate). You want to agree with what a BJP leader says; but you still want to oppose it, more because a BJP leader said it and not because what he said is false.

Murder is a heinous crime and death penalty is the best way of combating it. The only disadvantage in India is that the condemned, even in an open and shut case, has the option of appealing repeatedly and at times the support of political parties etc who try to save them.

One can't help recalling the case of two persons who killed a bus load of people in Andhra. All the courts, including the Supreme Court, upheld their sentence and then the Communists took up their cause and eventually had the death sentence cancelled. I think it was caste politics that was the reason for the Communists to do so. As long as things like this don't happen and the fear of death stays, even a person in his wildest moments of passion may stop and think before inflicting the death blow.

And rapists also should be punished with murder. It sure looks better than the other punishment I can think of.


Date sent: Wed, 14 Oct 1998 12:25:38 -0700
From: Sameer Kuppahalli <>
Subject: Rape is Murder by Vir Sanghvi

On a few counts I agree with you. But I strongly object to some others. We need to make rape a capital offence, punishable by death.

I want to make a few points of my own. Your liberal views on capital punishments do not stand the scrutiny of facts. It is not true that in US the states that do not have death penalty have lower capital offences. Most of the states are contemplating on bringing back the death penalty. Texas is one such.

You said that most murders are committed in the heat of the moment. If that was true, why is it that such incidents are almost negligible in all the nations which practice Islamic criminal law? Why don't we find serial rapists, killers, multiple personalities etc in say, the UAE, or Saudi Arabia? Why are such people in abundance in the Western world? That is precisely because of the "liberal" views of Western society.

And I would like to join issue with you when you make the following comment:

"But of course, it won't happen. Advani has made his point. Nobody blames the government for the rapes of the nuns. The BJP has cleverly distanced itself from the lunatic fringe of the Sangh Parivar. The debate over the death penalty of rapists has been stillborn; one remark by the home minister, two days of headlines and then silence."

I have been an RSS member for sometime now. I would describe your derogatory references to the RSS as your "lunatic fringe". Nobody in the RSS danced with joy when the nuns were raped. But your secular colleagues did when more than 4,000 Pandit women in Kashmir got raped and had their private parts mutiliated. Have you written one single article on that? The likes of you pounce at the RSS the moment you get a chance, without ascertaining the facts. Do you feel that the chastity and integrity of nuns need to be preserved more than that of the Pandit women?

Don't politicise everything you get your hands on. The RSS has learned to live with psychotic journalism for quite sometime now. Your immature remarks will wash away. But people know what contribution the Sangh Parivar has made to the society. Ask the flood victims of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. People like you only sit in cosy offices and make such remarks.

Sameer Kuppahalli

Vir Sanghvi

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