By Vinita Deshmukh | The News Minute | March 6, 2015 | 04:04 pm ISTFollow @VinitaDeshmukh
While there is furor over the Nagaland incident wherein a 1,000 strong mob broke the security gates of the prison and lynched an alleged rapist to death on March 5, Nagpur in Maharashtra witnessed on August 13th, 2004, a notorious rapist Aku Yadav being stoned to death by 200 women in the Nagpur District Court premises. The case of this sensational murder, wherein the 200 women united to kill the rapist, is still under process, in the court.
The outrage over hardened criminal and rapist Aku Yadav, whose victims even included underage girls, had created fear and burning anger amongst the Kasturbanagar slums, from where primarily he hunted victims. To add fuel to fire, Yadav used to get alleged police protection and had become brazen over the years, going in and out of bail. It is understood that every dwelling of the Kasturbanagar slum had a rape victim.The police, women alleged, would ridicule rape victims if they went to the police station to file a FIR and were instead accused of being `loose women.â€™
A week before the August 13th 2004 incident which was welcomed by the Nagpur society and that included lawyers too, a young 25 year old woman Usha Narayane was being hunted by the rapist who he visited number of times during that week and threatened to throw acid on her face. That was perhaps the last straw on the proverbial camelâ€™s back. Women campaigned against this threat and requested the police to take action. Yadav was put in custody but there were rumours that he would be out on bail once again.
When Aku Yadav was scheduled to be brought to the Nagpur District Court at 3 pm on August 13th, 2004 - 200 women swooped on him while he was on his way to the courtroom. They stoned him to death, one of the alleged victims, even cutting off his penis.
The Guardian report of that time stated that the women hacked, the man 'they say raped them', to death in 15 minutes. 'Chilli powder was thrown in his face and stones hurled' and one of his alleged victims also hacked off his genitals.
'A further 70 stab wounds were left on his body. The incident was made all the more extraordinary by its setting. Yadav was murdered not in the dark alleys of the slum, but on the shiny white marble floor of Nagpur district court', added the report.
Usha Narayane, who allegedly was not amidst the crowd that lynched him, as per her claims, continues to be in and out of the courtrooms since the last decade. She has stated to the media that even in the courtroom Yadav had got abusive when he saw one of his victims and had the audacity to call her `prostituteâ€™ followed by a smile from cops escorting him, which led to an emotional outrage and killing of Yadav.
Incidentally, Yadavâ€™s nephew was stabbed to death in 2012 for the same crimes committed by his uncle.
Sociologists had then pointed out that a weak law and enforcement system as well as an indifferent and painfully delaying system of the judiciary are responsible for people taking law into their own hands.
Does Nagalandâ€™s incident reflect the same? Both these incidents cannot be condoned. However, there is need for upgradation of our justice system for sure, wherein there is immense trust deficit too.
Vinita Deshmukh is a senior journalist, RTI columnist & activist.