Larger societal response needed to cure rape epidemic
S. Narinder Singh
If adequate measures are not taken to protect women it would shame the nation. In combating this menace, the government needs to understand that it is not merely a law and order problem. There is social and psychological aspect of the problem as well. To begin with, law against such crimes definitely needs to be made more stringent as to deter potential rapist. No doubt all such laws have been made and fast track Courts have also been set up and judgments are delivered within minimum time i.e. six months in certain cases. Even death sentence have also been awarded to the rapist of Nirbhaya but it has not proved deterrent to sex lunatics. In Lakhanpur district of Assam, a 30 yr. old lady, mother of a six year old child was gang raped and her eyes were taken out so that she could not recognise the culprit and they should not get punished.
Despite new strict laws and deterent punishments no change has taken place rather cases of rapes are being reported from all parts of the country i.e. from Kanyakumari to Kashmir daily. After Nirbhaya case, number of such cases has increased.
With the change of the new law, situation will not change until the police and other authorities like judiciary change their mindset. The law enforcing agencies should not wait for the action till gruesome crimes are highlighted or reported by the media and higher authorities. The convicted should not have the right to appeal especially in the cases of gang rapes. The society has to be gender sensitive. Most importantly crimes against the women cannot be delinked from the longer problems of falling gender ratio of women. Hence, female infanticides are to be treated at par with homicide. One consequence of the female denigration is the terribly skewed sex or gender ratio in less than a decade from now.
Sexual attacks are at an all time rise. India is an unsafe society for all foreign tourists who are given advises to be cautious, as it is internally an unsafe destination especially for women. A 30 yr. old tourist from California was gang raped by a truck driver and his two Nepali friends in village in moving truck and all the three criminals were arrested. Another Japanese girl was drugged and raped by a tourist guide in Jaipur. This incident gave a blow to the tourist Industry. Britian and France revised their tourists’ advisories for India warning visitors about the risk of sexual attacks.
Recently two gang rapes in Kerala took place which again reminded us of Nirbhaya where a nurse student was allegedly gang raped inside the auto rickshaw near state capital Trivanthpuram and another case of a law student Jeesha who was found in a pool of blood in her home, intestines hanging out of a brutally mutilated body again like torture on Nirbhaya’s body. This raises the question about how much women safety has improved since 2012 when even home and public transport remain unsafe zones. Years after Nirbhaya, a terrible reminder that women remain unsafe and police remain callous.
In our country, crime against women today have assumed the shape of epidemic. Despite new strict laws and deterrent punishments no change has taken place rather cases of rapes are being reported from all parts of the country i.e. from Kanyakumari to Kashmir daily. Even in our state crime against women and children since 2013 is on rise. According to Home Department figures, the police registered more than 11,000 cases since year 2013 which include 1,039 cases of rape and other cases of kidnapping, molestation, eve teasing etc. Recently i.e. on 11th May, 2016 a sub-inspector was arrested for allegedly raping a girl at Khour Police Station with the help of Lady SPO who allegedly helped the accused has also been booked.
In the wake of rising crime rate against women across the country, yet another remedial measure needs to be given a serious thought by all political parties, social and religious organisations besides civil society activists so that protection for women is ensured at all fronts. In order to prevent more rapes and control crime, we have to push through police reform immediately. In nutshell, there has to be a larger societal-cum-governmental response to treat the cancerous malady, lest it spreads and consumes body physique of the nation. The Govt. has to strictly implement censor rules as too much vulgarity is being shown in the Hindi movies- 3/4th of the body of women is being shown naked/nude. Mass awakening block wise, sex education needs to be imparted from school level.
The Govt. must now take a radically different approach, it should to begin with adequate sufficient resources to police and judicial reforms are perhaps more important than economic reforms and For augmenting police manpower, civil defence, NCC, NSS personnel, SPOs, citizen, wardens, volunteers, and forces should come forward. Such measures would enhance the confidence among women in public places. It would also stop blame game between police and people as volunteer citizens would be an integral part of patrol. Nearly four years have passed since Nirbhaya gang rape but when it comes to the safety of women in public places, the ground reality remains much the same. Shame on the so called humanity? Unless there are reforms Nirbhaya will continue to be raped, tortured and killed. In our country we Indians worship and have faith in Devis like Vaishno Mata, Durga and many others as Shakti – a female form. It has many names and it is strange yet we do not have the social and political will to root out crime against woman.
(The author is Ex-Director Information)