Time to take on moral degeneration

Mahmudur Rahman | Update:

Experts in sociology are terming the spate of rape cases as moral degeneration sweeping our society. Some of these cases go beyond the more usual sexual deprivation that plague the young generation and involve much elder protagonists including the abhorrent case involving a madrasa teacher.

The prime minister has warned protagonists and has signed in death penalty for those involved but the incidents continue. And though the experts may be correct in identifying a cause, they haven’t come up with answers to the malady.

There are those that would have us believe rape has always been happening and it has been accounting to media coverage and the willingness of families to file cases that have brought the matter to the fore. Others point to an overall deterioration in law breaking from simple crimes to rape and murder that take too much time through the legal process to solve. There have also been several complaints that the initial First Information Reports filed by the investigating officer are either weak, incomplete or, worse still, ‘influenced’ by the powers that be. In several cases post-mortems too are influenced as was evidenced by the Tonu case where two post mortems did not find evidence of rape inconsistent with the physical state of the body. No less a person than the then chief justice expressed his consternation with the type of the crime. Due to such inconsistencies courts are often helpless in handing out the law, bound as they are by the process of law.

To date too many sensational rape and murder cases have been gathering dust due to imponderable delays in investigation when most of the facts were supported by media reports and interviews. The case of a drunken under-age relative driving under influence, killing a rickshaw puller and then allowed time to be whisked out of the country still remains unresolved. The Sagar-Runi journalist couple murders look as if they’ll never be solved as seems to be the fate of the young Tonu in Cumilla.

The experts are not calling for speedy trial tribunals failing in their purpose, to cut out the red-tape and resolve the issues. Moral degeneration can only be deterred by the firm hand of the rule of law with exemplary punishment duly publicised. Side by side the need for sex education in schools has become an absolute must to create awareness of the impact of such crimes from a psychological point of view that affects both males and females.

While it is impossible for police to be everywhere where occurrences take place there is now a greater need of effective and empowered community policing that seems to have lost steam beyond trying to nudge the hopeless traffic jams. The local government councils too must be held to task for ensuring that even threats of rape against young girls and women must be recorded and passed on to the police. In turn, each police station must be manned with qualified and trained specialists to deal with rape on a priority basis.

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