Home / Politics / Policy /  Rapists should be made to feel remorse: Kiran Bedi

New Delhi: Kiran Bedi, 64, is a retired police officer and a Ramon Magsaysay Award winner. In 1972, she became the first woman Indian Police Service officer. Bedi, now an activist, was inspector general of prisons at Tihar jail in Delhi between 1993 and 1995.

In an email interview, Bedi spoke on the need for transformative policing and how convicted rapists should be made to feel remorse when they are in prison. Edited excerpts:

India has seen a sudden spurt in rapes, or reported rapes. Do we need better policing?

We need a wholesale transformative policing, one in which reporting online becomes a norm, where jurisdiction of the police station too is not an issue; policing which responds within minutes, with forensic labs available to pick important evidence, etc. We are just managing with weak, inefficient structures. We are still in crisis management (mode).

What was your experience dealing with rapists during your tenure at Tihar?

My focus then was to create an environment of remorse in them. Which is why they were being put through meditation programmes and other correctional therapies.

Why do you think, based on your interactions with inmates in Tihar jail, men rape?

It’s lack of self-control when brutal instincts become overpowering. Lust and almost animal instinct when in heat, obviously ruptured upbringing.

Do you think people serving, say, 10 years for rape, or juveniles sent to reform homes, will come out and never commit rapes again? Do these means really help individuals or society in that case?

Well, if programmes of the kind we were running continue, and meditation and other therapeutic programmes continue, it helps.

But if left alone, they can worsen too. Also, the judiciary should (have allowed these people to be) bailed out only on certain attendance conditions—like (the rapists regularly) reporting to a non-governmental organization.

What do you think about death sentences being awarded to rapists?

It depends on the gravity, brutality, mindset (and)...the circumstances of each case.

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