Lingapur rape victim gets a new name week after her murder

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Almost a week after she was brutally raped and killed, the ill-fated Dalit woman from Lingapur in Komram Bheem Asifabad district has been 'renamed.' She has been renamed 'Samatha' now and the police have now directed the people to use this name only instead of her original name.

For over one week, her original name was being repeatedly mentioned in the media and in the public discourse. Even when the veterinarian, who was raped and done to death near Shamshabad, was renamed as Disha, the authorities did not bother about renaming the Lingapur rape victim. It is only after the people at large began demanding that the Lingapur rapists too should be killed in the same manner as the rapists of Shamshabad that the authorities woke up and renamed her as Samatha.

Though the Supreme Court on December 11, 2018 said that the identity of the victims of rape and sexual misconduct should not be revealed under Section 228 A of the Indian Penal Code that deals with the disclosure of the sexual offence victim’s identity and provision 23 of the POCSO act that deals with the procedure media should follow in such cases, this is more being followed in breach than in compliance. The police did not do anything for over a week and have moved in only on Monday to rename the victim.

Is this an attempt to whitewash the crime and obliterate all memories of the ill-fated girl or to do justice to her. The emotional connect that the people have towards the victim would get blurred once she gets another name. This will also reduce the seriousness that gets associated with the original name. While it is a laudable decision to rename the victim, it should also be done immediately after the crime and not days after her name becomes known in public domain.
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