Delhi: What Creates a Murderer and the Nature of Violence
Which comes first, nature or nurture—killers? Does the outmoded yet persistently misused label "psychopath" have any substance at all?
A similar grisly assassination has made news a few days after the horrifying dismemberment and murder of Shradha Walkar in Delhi by her lover Aftab Poonawallah. The defendant is identified as Sahil Gehlot this time. According to accounts, the 24-year-old murdered his roommate before dismembering and stuffing her corpse inside a refrigerator at the 'dhaba' (restaurant) he owned.
The crime happened in southwest Delhi, and the accused married another lady the same day, according to the police. Since then, the police have detained Gehlot, a resident of Matron village in Southwest Delhi.
As graphic details of the crime spread on social media, the tragedy has once again raised issues of gender-based violence, violent crimes, and mental health. Several people on social media have questioned if this was yet another psychopath's act.
So who exactly is a psychopath, and how does one define crimes committed by psychopaths?
Psychopaths are ambiguous individuals. There is no official definition of psychopathy in India. But, since news of the Shradha Walkar case broke, violent crimes that go beyond the normal cycle of motivation, action, and gain have been on the increase.
The decomposing corpse of a lady was discovered inside a drum at the train station in Yeshwanthpur, a town close to Bengaluru, days after Walkar's murder was discovered. In a another incident, a guy in Azamgarh was detained on suspicion of murdering his girlfriend, dismembering him, and flushing the pieces down a well.
Although the obvious topic of psychopathy is raised by the murders, activists also challenge the gender-based nature of the crimes and the level of protection that women have in the face of shifting family relations.
In light of the current murder, Outlook looks back to its 2022 issue titled "I Am A Neat Monster," which examined what makes a murderer and the circumstances that lead someone to perform the unthinkable: murder in all its grisly truth.
In the article, we examined the characteristics of a "killer" and investigated the question of whether murder is "the province of exceptional individuals or are we all capable of it."
We also looked at what a psychopath is and if it's possible to see one before they murder.
We also examined how the Indian court system fails to recognise the connections between socioeconomic class, mental health, and crime, which makes it difficult to comprehend and, most importantly, prevent such crimes.