Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Cherry Blossoms - Part 5

            "Krishna, I hope you know what it means to register a case of CSA in our country, and that too against someone as rich and influential as Arnav."
            "Raghav, I know that it's not going to be easy.  But..."
            "Easy?"  Raghav interrupted, "Krishna, not only is it going to be an uphill task but extremely dangerous as well.  And I am not talking about your, Sneha's or your families' reputation."
            "Reputation?  Have you seen how Sneha is suffering?  I am rich enough to silence the whole world and as they say even a bad reputation is a reputation.  My family's reputation has been built during hard times and hardships will strengthen it further, if anything.  Only middle-class or nouveau-riche people care about reputation.  People like us don't give a damn about what others say.  We tread on dangerous roads and continue the journey.  This will set an example for anyone who dares play or even think of playing with us or our sentiments."
            Raghav was stunned to hear these words from the scion of one of the most esteemed families of the country.  He looked doubtful but remained silent.
            Krishna broke the silence.
            "Raghav, all I want to know is what should I do to get Arnav behind the bars.  What does the law say?"
            "Krishna, the problem is that our law, like the society, is silent about the matter."
            "Well, you see, in our country Child Sexual Abuse is a matter of shame just like rape.  People don't want to admit that it exists.  As a result, there is no legal framework for CSA or victims of CSA.  There have been efforts by some individuals and NGOs in this direction.  But there's not been much progress."
            Krishna was shocked to silence.
            "You mean Arnav will get away with his crime?"
            "Well, firstly, beware that it's going to be a very long war.  There will be several battles that you'll have to fight before you can think of winning the war.  One thing that Arnav can't say is that Sneha gave her consent and so it was a consensual relationship.  Our law is very clear about it.  One can't sign any contract till one is18.  So she is actually safe on that front.  From what you told me, it appears that she was subjected to CSA when she was 4-5 years old and it continued till she was 10-12 years old.  So in no way could she give her consent.  Now, as it will be treated as rape, they'll ask for a proof.  It's easy to accuse someone but how will she prove it?  She was just a child so she didn't understand it and so she was not ever examined by doctors for the same.  So all possible medical and forensic evidence, including DNA, has disappeared forever."
            Krishna was listening silently.  He had never thought about all this.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Cherry Blossoms - Part 4

            Krishna couldn't control himself.  He shook with violence.
            "Arnav is in for a big shock," thought Raghav.
            Of course, like most lawyers, Raghav was aware of Arnav's penchant for young children, especially girls.  At least one couldn't accuse him of gender discrimination but this didn't make it easy to forgive or forget his deeds.  Legal community knew him well and he had a reputation, albeit a negative one.  How he and some of his colleagues wished that one of these days he'd be killed in an accident!  And some of them had even thought of arranging one especially for him.  But at the same time they felt that this would mean letting him off the hook too easily.  Yet it was so difficult, nay almost impossible, to nail him for his crime as most of the victims refused to come forward to register their complaint in the first place and when some did, they were reduced to silence either with money or by their own family's sense of shame.
            This was the first time a victim was going to come out in the open.  And the fact that the accused and the victim had been seen recently with each-other, on the occasion of Sneha and Krishna's wedding, wasn't going to make things easy.  Arnav had known Sneha's family for a long time.  Arnav and Anand Kaushal, Sneha's father, had known each other for over 20-25 years now.  Now that Sneha's story was going to come out in the open, Arnav will have to face someone whose social status was higher than his own and it won't be so easy for him to stifle the case this time.  At the same time, it also meant hard time ahead for Sneha's parents we well as her in-laws.  The wedding of the year was about to become the nightmare of the decade for all concerned.
            Raghav was glad that he had been chosen for this task.  He was sure to be in limelight and gain popularity, both within lawyers' community as well as among public.  He had heard the tales of other victims and knew how harrowing it must be for Sneha.  Poor Krishna!  Did he have any idea what he had taken on?  His love for Sneha was taking him towards unchartered waters.  But will his love withstand the difficulties that awaited him?