Bordering on inhumanity
Love is the last thing in this world that could have led to the type of manslaughter revealed in Shraddha Walker murder case. The refined expression of love that humans are capable of distinguishes them apart from other living beings. The alleged course taken by Aftab, on the contrary, marks a return to inhumanity and unforgivable hatred. The gruesome incident is also reflective of the distorted notion of love most of us are living with presently. Everything that is passed under the label of love is not love. Thanks to the glossy world of cinema and entertainment, the hyper romanticisation of love has led to stereotypes that are futile or disturbing in many cases, and dangerous in some. The recent case is an indicator that one must be mindful of the adulteration in love. The harmful aspects of human behaviour, legitimised under the sacrosanct label of love, are capable of inflicting great harm, including even rapes and murders. It is inexplicable by all accounts how love can be preconditioned upon concord, compromise and possession. Aftab's and Shraddha's relationship reportedly started in 2019 and, interspersed with regular conflicts and assaults, couldn't even last three years — the end being the most tragic. The trust on which the girl almost dissociated herself from her family, was broken beyond repair. Manslaughter was the last thing that the 27-year-old deserved in her efforts to prove and retain an emotion that requires no proof, no retention. Her murder, as confessed by the accused, is a gruesome criminal act. Apart from strangling her to death, the culprit, in cold blood, disposed of her body in parts into a nearby forest of the locality the couple lived in. Had it not been the girl's father, who filed a missing person's complaint in Vasai, Mumbai, the crime could easily have escaped the public eye. The accused is reported to have googled about human anatomy so that he could chop the victim's corpse into pieces, and about the methods of removing bloodstains. He is also reported to have arranged a refrigerator especially for the purpose of storing the chopped body parts. Apparently, there is clear evidence of planning when it comes to the disposal of the dead body. Whether the murder was planned, and if other persons were involved, are matters of probe. However, one is forced to ask, how much difference should answer to these questions make? The nabbed accused is a food blogger and has a strong media presence, though his activities have been stalled for well over months. It is reported that his actions post the murder were influenced by an American crime thriller Dexter. Apparently, a perception is being formed, rightly or wrongly, that the accused might be a psychopath. If it happens to be so, should it dilute the gravity of the crime? One can draw a very thin line here. Activities like online gaming and web series binge-watching are quite immersive and vicarious in nature — having long-term impacts on human behaviour. Even in a normal person, these behaviours may get amplified on receiving a stimulus circumstance. While there may be a case to be mindful of the content we are being served, at present, no one should take the liberty to equate these behavioural distortions to psychopathy, unless there is concrete medical confirmation. Furthermore, strict punitive action becomes even more pertinent here to deter such behavioural distortions from dominating in society. To its credit, Delhi police acted timely after a missing person FIR was registered by the father of the deceased — even though the crime had been committed way back in May. Given the gravity of the case, it is expected that police will proceed rigorously with the investigation, and ensure speedy justice for the victim. A crime has been committed and a 27-year-old girl has lost her life in a very inhumane manner. Irrespective of all ifs and buts, justice should prevail for her. Her murder is a wake-up call for everyone to filter love out of the large amount of scrap that floats around. It could be appealed here that politicians and media fraternity exercise extreme caution against spreading sensation around the matter. Let the probe continue with strictest professionalism, and justice be delivered to the family of the victim.