What If: Riots Erupt as Rapist Baba Gets Far Too Little Jail Time

Lakhs of people took to violence when the rape accused, a Godman, was given an embarrassingly short sentence.

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An anti-rape protest. Photo used for representational purpose.
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In an alternate universe...

I: Traditions Be Damned

Lakhs of people were moved out of their social media stupors, shaken from their Twitter outrage into pouring onto the streets to demand a longer incarceration for Gurmeet Ram Rahim, the convicted rapist who abused God knows how many of his female followers, and ensure that he does not receive any VIP treatment in jail after his rockstar entry to court in a 100-car cavalcade. Taken aback by the strength of the reaction, one of The Rapist’s acolytes appealed to the protesters’ patriotism:

Why all this sudden anger? Everybody knew what had been happening, nobody said anything... we assumed it was all cool. India is a country where Godmen and their followers enter into a sacred relationship. It is understood that in exchange for spiritual mentorship, one must satisfy the guru’s sexual needs. This is how it’s always been, why are we letting Western thinking wreck our age-old traditions?

That was the last straw. Incensed citizens couldn’t take it anymore, having had their intelligence insulted for the very last time. Buses were burnt, windows were smashed, and The Rapist and his supporters were given Z-plus security in light of an influx of death threats.

Deadly riots as rapist baba gets light sentence.
Deadly riots as rapist baba gets light sentence.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/MarthaLeah Nangalama)
The run-up to his woefully inadequate sentencing led to riots across north India with lakhs of men and women surrounding the court and threatening grave violence if The Rapist was sentenced to anything less than life in a dingy cell.
Enough is enough. Twenty years is a joke; his scam has been longer in the making. I want to know what is this soul-touching promise he makes for raping those women? Can he touch my soul too or is it a non-consenting women-only offer? 
46-year-old labourer in Gurgaon

II: Riots Worth Having

The situation deteriorated soon after a quantum of sentence shorter than his years of perpetrating abuse was handed out to The Rapist. Thousands of women camped outside the court, wailing at the verdict, while men of all ages gathered around his ashram in Haryana and burnt DVDs of his movies with terrible, terrible CG.

Reportedly, 45 buses had been set on fire and 20 petrol pumps, damaged. Out of 387 LPG companies, 185 were out of stock. With no way left to show their frustration at a country that still takes decades or more to solve each rape case only to hand out a staycation in a VIP guesthouse, the citizenry came out in force.

What if: No rest for the rapists if the citizenry has its way.
What if: No rest for the rapists if the citizenry has its way.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/Mohit

Hotels and restaurants across Gurgaon, Punjab and Delhi said they incurred losses as travellers stayed away fearing eruption of violence.

We had to shut down our shops days before the judiciary disappointed once again. But the bigger picture is fine by me. If a few days of no business means this rape culture of India will change, I am ready to not only close my shop but also take to the streets, if the accused is not given a life sentence. How many Nirbhayas will it take? 
Owner of a dhaba on Gurgaon Highway

The Gurgaon police was forced to conduct raids of the houses of ‘district level action groups’ called ‘Kranti’ (Revolution) formed on Whatsapp that sought to arm and mobilise rape-stoppers, reaching out the young and old of their block encouraging them to riot (and burn more DVDs) if the court’s verdict fell short. Search groups were formed by people across North India to locate more of The Rapist’s followers who may have been raped and extend the hand of solidarity and enjoin them to the cause.

In the nick of time, police uncovered and stopped a nefarious conspiracy plan wherein the coded message “Na Rahega Ram, Na Rahega Rahim” was sent to certain groups in Delhi to spark off violence if yet another rape survivor re-lived her horror only for The Rapist to receive a slap on the wrist.

What if: For once, people came together with anger and passion to defend rape survivors and demand the harshest punishment for Godmen like Ram Rahim?
What if: For once, people came together with anger and passion to defend rape survivors and demand the harshest punishment for Godmen like Ram Rahim?
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/Jade Chinese

III: The Legacy of ‘Pink’?

The government bears the blame for failing to assess the anger of the people. The date for the hearing was known much in advance. After decades of inadequate sentencing of rapists, any two-bit observer could have anticipated that the situation was becoming untenable.

This verdict is peanuts. The court needs to hand The Rapist a suck-your-soul-out kind of punishment so he can’t ever hurt anyone else with his spiritual bullsh*t. I am willing to stand here and cry myself hoarse in all the media till adequate justice is served once and for all. I don’t care if he was a Godman or God himself, there are some basics this country needs to get right. Haven’t you seen Bachchan sahab in Pink? ‘No’ is not a word; it’s a sentence. And now someone needs to say it to The Rapist. 
An 84-year-old resident of Sonepat, Haryana
Violence is never justified, but it’d be a lot more palatable if the anger was directed AGAINST a ‘Godman’ who got away with VIP treatment and a relatively light sentence.
Violence is never justified, but it’d be a lot more palatable if the anger was directed AGAINST a ‘Godman’ who got away with VIP treatment and a relatively light sentence.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/Rana Zulfiqar Hyder

Could this really be the turning point in India where thousands of men, women and young adults take to the streets, rallying their life in support of a rape survivor and swearing to go to any extent to ensure she receives justice, even at the sake of their own safety?

Not any time soon, by the looks of it.

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