How the demand for summary justice for rapists will backfire on India’s poorest citizens

The gruesome rape and murder of a 26-year-old woman, within the city limits of Hyderabad on November 27, has set off a furious debate in India on crimes against women. 

There are growing demands for summary justice, including public lynching of rapists. Have people lost faith in the law and in the criminal justice system? Or does this represent growing lawlessness and demands for retribution and revenge that have come to dominate public discourse in India?

In 2012, when a 23-year-old woman was brutally raped by six men in New Delhi, there was nationwide outrage and demands for a change in the law. 

It was changed in 2013 to introduce the death penalty. Policemen refusing to note rape complaints…

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