Savages OF Modernity
Gajanan Khergamker Mumbai
When businessman, Moninder Singh Pandher, and his domestic help, Surendra Koli, were arrested on December 29, 2006, after the police found 15 skulls outside the businessman's bungalow in Noida on the outskirts of Delhi, the entire nation was shocked. Investigations revealed that the remains belonged to four women and 15 young girls who had been raped, killed and mutilated. In the most eerie sections of a charge-sheet prepared it was revealed that Koli allegedly suffered from necrophilia - the deranged urge to have sex with a corpse - and necrophagia - the perverse urge to eat flesh.
The findings rewrote the ground rules of crime. Criminals had fallen to a new record low; a low that baffled basic human sensibilities. Dismal psychiatric conditions coupled with innate brutal tendencies formed the fundamental plinth of the new-age criminal; a plinth alien to law-enforcers and legal machinery alike. And when, in the first of the Nithari case judgments, a special CBI court in early February convicted the two for raping and killing 14-year-old Rimpa Haldar who had been allegedly strangled and then cut to pieces by Koli with two kitchen knives and an axe, the nation heaved a sigh of relief. Finally, a thin glimmer of justice appeared to light up the darkest chapters in India's penal history. On February 13, 2009, convicts in the Nithari killings, Koli and Singh, were awarded the death sentence for the 'rarest of rare cases' - spelling hope, or so it seemed.
In the very next month, on March 19, broke out a story of two minor daughters being forced to have sex with their father and a tantrik; a pre-marital relationship ending into a torrid threesome with the husband's acquiescence to the tantrik's relationship with his wife and more. Brutally forced into silence and subjugation, a 21-year-old girl continued being raped repeatedly over the years since the tender age of 12 by her father and the tantrik even as her 'naked' mother watched on. Her mother, investigations revealed, had had consensual sex at the same time with both her husband and the tantrik - her lover prior to marriage.
The elder daughter filed a complaint in a Mumbai police station that she had been raped over a period of nine years by her 49-year-old father, Kishore Chauhan, and a 55-year-old tantrik, Hasmukh Rathod, who has reportedly sexually abused other women as well. It was only after the tantrik began to rape her 15-year-old younger sister that the older sister could take it no more and spilt the beans before her maternal uncle and grandmother, who helped her file the complaint.
In a series of shocking revelations, the tantrik went on to justify his act saying that he was "checking his masculinity" after his wife's death owing to cancer. He added that while his wife was alive, she had stopped him from having sexual relations with other women.
The younger sister, presently 15, had apparently been taken to the tantrik's home in Juhu Gully in Mumbai last November by her mother. "Rathod chanted something and tied sacred threads on our wrists, before he stripped us," she said. He then had sex with them both. The tantrik had allegedly encouraged the father of the family to rape his elder daughter saying that he could become prosperous by doing so.
The 'reward' theory has, however, been stoically opposed by the police who claim that it's only a front for the morally depraved couple to put up as a lame justification. "There were times when I had given up on life completely," said the elder daughter in her statement. "When a child is in trouble, she first approaches her parents for help and protection, but who would protect me from my own father who had behaved like a beast?" The girl had confided in a close friend, who had encouraged her to complain about her parents.
The tantrik, in a display of morally-misplaced regret, suggested to the Mira Road police in Mumbai following his arrest that he was ready to get his son married to the younger sister as 'compensation' for the act. According to Rathod, apparently, he would not get his son married to the elder daughter as she had been 'used' too much and he himself had raped her at least 50 times. What's sickening, he added that the younger girl was petite and would "suit his son".
Concurrently, when the mother was asked how she could be so cruel to her daughters, she replied, "What's wrong in that?" adding, "Now, it is up to my daughters whether to keep our home intact or to destroy it."
What lends the edge of fatality to the heinous offence is the all-persuasive involvement of the victim's parents in a perverse saga of kinky sex and incest (and relentless cruelty) leaving little by way of hope for children in similar predicaments of sex-linked crimes that bare the devious psyche of lust-ridden incestuous families, often socially invisible.