Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan broke the silence over what he has rightly termed Hercules mystery. No, the Roman hero and god, equivalent of Greek hero Heracles, is not reborn on this soil in the new millennium. But the epitome of courage and masculinity of the hero god has been used by some unknown element/s or assailant/s. Taking cue from the ancient god's heroic acts, someone or a group has embarked on a mission against rapists. At least in three separate incidents, the accused of rape were found murdered with a note hanging from their necks. The note is a warning: "This is the consequence of a rapist. Be aware rapists ...Hercules".
A wave of rapes beginning with that of a mother of three children in Subarnachar, Noakhali has indeed swept the country over the past one and a half months. Underage girls as young as five to 12 are the majority to fall victim to this spate of sexual violence. So outrageous are the incidents reported from different corners of the country that some people cannot be blamed if they nurture a pathological hatred against the rapists. The immediate instinct is to teach the perpetrators a lesson of their life so that no would-be sexual predator dare commit the crime in future.
But an instinctive or impulsive action, more often than not, leads one to commit a graver crime. In the case of rapacious rapes (often gang rapes), there is no scope for showing mercy to the criminals. But the summary killing is no solution to the problem. Referring to the killing of the alleged rapists, the home minister has only pointed out that this undermines justice. When the accused are proved guilty, the punishment decided by the court for the crime should be enough to act as a deterrent to such crimes.
Unfortunately, the legal process is long and the cases are often framed by the law enforcement agencies so casually and weakly that the culprits can get away with light punishment. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that extra-judicial punishment can be a strong deterrent to crimes. The number of deaths in what is passed as crossfire has piled up over the years. True, in the early years when 'gangsterism' was at its most ruthless in this capital with different underworld gangs controlling different areas of the city, the operation unleashed against it produced some positive results. Some paid with their lives, others were put behind the bar and still others left the country. The threat from the goons has not disappeared altogether but at least it is drastically limited.
In the fight against drug, it cannot be said that the method has been able to produce desired results. The home minister has stated that the mystery surrounding 'Hercules' would be unravelled. He has also emphasised the need for handing over the rapists to the law enforcers so that they can be brought to justice. In this context the proverbial delay in justice is the most contentious issue. The country's legal system is not adequately manned. Crimes that repeat themselves and upset the social order on a daily basis, of necessity, should be brought under the speedy trial provisions. If criminals like drug barons and peddlers, rapists, child torturers and abusers are speedily tried in courts specially set up for the purpose, the verdicts will act as a deterrent to such crimes and help raise people's respect for the system.
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