Sunday, December 02, 2007

Vikram and Betaal like no other

It was a dark night and it rained in fits. Gusts of wind shook the trees. There were strange noises and in between the thunderclaps, the moaning of jackals could be heard.Flashes of lightning revealed fearsome faces and there was a strange and mysterious laughter of the spirits.
Vikram carrying the corpseBut King Vikramaditya swerved not. He climbed the ancient tree to bring the corpse down and soon he began crossing the desolate cremation ground, with the corpse lying on his shoulder.

As he walked back, the betaal spoke to him thus:

"Vikram I appreciate you picking me up every night and to make the journey back more pleasant, I shall tell you a story."

Vikram listened quietly as the Betaal continued.

"There was this 19 year old woman. One day she went out alone to meet a man to pick up some photographs. When she reached there, both of them were abducted by 7 men. They took her somewhere and each of them raped her. They were later found and they were brought to court. They were sentenced to any where between 10 months and 5 years in prison.

The attorney of this woman appealed that the sentence to these wretched men be increased. He argued that they had committed an unholy sin and deserved to be tortured more.

What did the court say to the appeal, Vikram?"
Poof! You're King Vikramaditya!

What is your answer going to be? If you say the right answer, the Betaal will go back. If you say the wrong answer, then he will chop your head off.

What do you think the court did?
It increases the sentence for the 7 men as requested.

Then it also decided that the 19 year old raped-by-seven-men victim be given another 200 lashes in addition to the 90 lashes that she had been destined to receive. Also she was sentenced to six months in prison for good measure. This was because she had had gone unaccompanied to meet a man.

The attorney who had represented her for this appeal got his license to practice law revoked.

The place as you may have guessed by now is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is a true story that has been all over the news. You can read more about it here.

The Qatif girl, as she is referred to, has outright support of nations worldwide. Saudi has very strict laws regarding women in their country has so far refused to budge from their stand. The girl's fate now stands at the door step of Kind Abdullah, the only person who can waive the decision, or enforce it.

Of course, one cannot imagine that such a decision would have been reached without reason. After saying no comment for a long time, the decision makers have offered a rationale for their judgement. You can read it here.

We shall have to wait, pray and see what happens to the Qatif girl.

As for you King Vikram, the Betaal just beheaded you!

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