Bilkis Bano's statement on the release of the 11 rapists and killers should have stopped any and every one in their tracks. Except those of course, made inhuman by hate and bigotry. The line up of these men being fed sweets by people who touched their feet sent shock waves down the democratic spine of India . Not only did it amount to a travesty of justice, but the takeaway watching the new low was that rape and murder against Muslims is justifiable. Of course, if it is not so then it is imperative for those who have secured the release of the rapists, and those who felicitated them to inform the people of India as to why they had made this their mission, and what lesson did they expect the people of India to draw from the actions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of the rights of women just hours before these men were released. That it was while India was celebrating her 75th year of independence was not lost on any one. Dark clouds immediately overcast the celebrations, as democracy tottered yet again with the images of the rapists biting into laddus and giving their blessings to those who touched their feet. The horror permeated into the home of Bilkis Bano who with a supportive husband and family has been trying hard to exist and overcome the trauma of rape and murder, fear and terror that led her to again point to the danger to their lives. The release and the felicitation also let it be known to these men that they need bear no remorse for their crimes, and that in new India they were accepted as honourable members of society regardless of having raped a pregnant woman, bashed to death a three old toddler, and killed others. As these were the charges they were convicted for, or is now the law of selective amnesia to be applied to citizenry of democratic India.

This action might help in the forthcoming Assembly elections in Gujarat, as many politicians have been pointing out. But it has dealt a severe blow yet again to Indian democracy where the law has been toppled against its own word. Those who led the protests against the rape of the young girl in a bus in Delhi will have to sit down and introspect. And realise that rape and assault on one is an assault really on all women, on humankind, on rights and justice and on democracy. That beasts unleashed cannot be bottled and women cannot be placed into compartments of caste and religion when they walk on the streets. Rape and murder if justified for one, is actually justified then for all, as the law when it becomes selective tends to break into bits as history across the world has shown over and over again. It degenerates into complete lawlessness where women, in particular, pay the price. Over and over again as Indians have been more than witness to.