By Associated Press – Wed, Dec 19, 2012 |
Opposition lawmakers shouted slogans and protested outside Parliament and called for making rape a capital crime. Cutting across party affiliations, lawmakers demanded the government announce a plan to safeguard women in the city.
Analysts and protesters said the upsurge of anger was chiefly due to increasing incidents of crime against women and the seeming inability of authorities to protect them.
"We have been screaming ourselves hoarse demanding greater security for women and girls. But the government, the police, and others responsible for public security have ignored the daily violence that women face," said Sehba Farooqui, a women's rights activist.
Farooqui said women's groups were demanding fast-track courts to deal with rape and other crimes against women.
In India's painfully slow justice system, cases can languish for 10 to 15 years before reaching court.
Analysts say crimes against women are on the rise as more young women leave their homes to join the work force in India's booming economy, even as deep-rooted social attitudes that women are inferior remain unchanged. Many families look down on women, viewing the girl child as a burden that forces them to pay a huge dowry to marry her off.
Kumari says a change can come about only when women are seen as equal to men.
NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian officials announced Friday a broad campaign to protect women in New Delhi following the gang rape and brutal beating of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in the capital.
"This is an incident which has shocked all of us," he said.
The attack sparked days of protests across the country from women demanding that authorities take tougher action to protect them against the daily threat of harassment and violence. The government said it is taking steps to address those concerns.
"There will not be any tolerance for crimes against women," Singh said.
Bus drivers in New Delhi will be required to display their identification prominently in the vehicles, buses are now required to remove tinting from their windows and plainclothes police are being placed on buses to protect female passengers, he said. In addition, chartered buses such as the one where the attack occurred will be impounded if they illegally ply for fares on the streets, he said.
Authorities are also cracking down on drunk driving and on loitering gangs of drunken youths, he said.
The victim and a companion were attacked after getting a ride on a chartered bus following a movie Sunday evening. Police said the men on the bus gang-raped her and beat her and her companion with iron rods as the bus drove through the city for hours, even passing through police checkpoints. The assailants eventually stripped the pair and dumped them on the side of a road.
"We are ready to send the victim to anywhere in the world for treatment," Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said. "I have given that assurance to the parents of the girl that we will give every kind of help, no matter what it costs."
Parliamentarian M. Venkaiah Naidu said a special legislative committee would meet next week to take action to protect women.
|Reuters/Reuters - Women participate in a candlelight vigil to show solidarity with a rape victim at India Gate in New Delhi December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi|
New Delhi, home to about 16 million people, has the highest number of sex crimes among India's mega cities. Police figures show rape is reported on average every 18 hours and some other form of sexual attack every 14 hours in the capital.
Marches, demonstrations and candlelight vigils have spread during the week to cities in states from the north of the country to the south.
Outrage grows over the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in New Delhi, with India's congress vowing swifter justice for victims of rape. Sarah Sheffer reports.
|Indian students and activists shout slogans as they carry torches at India Gate during a protest following the gang-rape of a student in New Delhi, Dec 19, 2012. — Photo by AFP|
Why do you have to be so negative?
This was by far the most common response from the emails I got and the comments that I read on the first piece. Well, how can I be positive? A 23-year- old-girl who had her whole life before her has been raped. Doctors who are treating her have said that they haven’t seen a worse case of sexual assault in all their lives. And one of the rapists has said they did what they did to her because she was resisting rape and biting them. Her intestines have been taken out and if she lives she won’t be able to eat again.
|A rally demanding exemplary punishment for the Delhi gang-rape accused. AP.|
Loosely translated this means that “I am unhappy, where do I get songs of happiness from? I can only give what I get from this life.”
Those looking for more positivity can go and watch Salman Khan’s Dabanng 2 which releases today.
And as they watch and enjoy Bhai (as his fans like to call Salman) bashing up the baddies one more time, they should remember that this reel life superstar is accused of ramming his Toyota Land Cruiser into a bakery in Bandra on September 28,2002, killing one person and injuring four others. Salman has been summoned by the court 82 times till now. And he has not been present there even once. People like him are a symbol of the rich and famous in this country who systematically abuse the system of justice, take it for a ride and ensure that it does not work.
Girls get raped because they wear sexy clothes
This is by far the most appalling thing that I have ever heard. One gentleman who wrote to me had this to say. “Don’t you think girls are misusing their freedom… our education doesn’t teaches culture it teaches only history and tradition. When the freedom is given to women…they should use it n the fruitful way. Wearing jeans below belly proves they wants(sic) some attraction from opposite genders(sic) of society.”
Another man wrote in saying, “The simple reason is foreign influence. we have forgotten our tradational (sic) wearings (sic) and jumping to foreign culture particularly ladies and young girls of different ages working or studying wearing very very less cloths(sic) and showing their figure in a very nasty way. We used to see this type of body showing in the movies but now a days in every gulli or street you can see a live show. If this type of life style previles (sic) no one can prevent or control rape cases.”
So these men want us to believe that women are getting raped because they want to get raped. If this is the attitude prevails even among some men, then god help us! Let me try and flip this argument around and explain why this is nonsense of the highest order.
I see all around me, bare chested men in just their striped shorts, bermudas and pyjamas with long naadas dangling, and no woman that I know has actually ever expressed the desire to mob these barely clad men and publically pull their naadas down. So much for sexually arousing exposure!
Delhi is a very safe place
Another gentleman who claimed to be a CEO of a company wrote to me to say that he had been living in Delhi for the last seven years and he found it to be a very safe place. His 21 year old son whenever he came to India for his holidays from the US where he is studying partied till very late in the night and came back home only at around 4am in the morning and hence that proved that Delhi is a safe place.
When I asked him what about the girl friends of his son? Did they party till 4am as well? Pat came the reply. No, they had 11pm deadlines. Sons can party till 4am because sons don’t get raped.
Another gentleman wrote to me that Delhi is safe for 99.994% of females and backed up with some statistical mumbo jumbo. “The media needs stories to carry on with their TRP’s & viewership so that they can make more mullah. And we are happy reading the craps which they serve changing the flavors every now and then so that we don’t get bored. Killing the girl child is not something new, its there for centuries in India. Kings wanted their heirs again a male & so had multiple queens. And so had a male sooner or later, the same is followed for generation’s. That’s why a Rahul Gandhi leads Congress & not a Priyanka,” he added.
Delhi (572) has more rapes than Mumbai (221), Kolkata (46), Chennai (76), Bangalore (97) and Hyderabad (59), the next five biggest cities in India, put together. Guess that makes Delhi a very safe city! There is this small cottage industry that seems to have sprung up almost overnight trying to defend Delhi as being safe, as not being the rape capital of India and so on. If we are not even ready to acknowledge that Delhi is an unsafe city (and frankly it gives me the creeps) how can we even start addressing its fascination for raping its women.
It was not your sister/mother/wife who was raped.
One woman wrote in saying this: “Just read your article and I am speechless reading that. Not in a good sense mind you. Though the facts that you have mentioned are correct. But as you have said that stoning these scums is not a solution. Would you have said this if this had happened to your sister, mother or wife? Would you? try and understand the pain that girl has gone through. The accused is saying that they inserted metal rod inside her and when removed that rod some rope was sticking to it.. that was her intestine man… can you even barely imagine what she had gone through those 40 mins. keep your loved one in her shoe and then tell us killing them will not stop this. What will ? I find you sick who is taking this issue to some other extent.”
A few other people wrote in along similar lines talking about a rape in Tamil Nadu and the rapists being killed in an encounter after that. “This may be ruthless but these kind of punishment will tell others to be cautious… i would like to recall the Coimbatore incident were a 10 year old girl was raped by two of the car drivers in 2010. The next day there was a huge cry out in the state , understanding the pulse of people police immediately swing in to action and he was encountered, the whole tamil nadu know that this was planned execution by law enforcement agencies but all people of tamil nadu welcomed it.”
If we as a society want to stone people to death, kill them in encounters etc, how does that make us any different from the Taliban? And as I said in my piece yesterday any solution is as good as the system that will execute it. In a country like India if anything like chemical castration and encounter killings for committing rapes becomes the order of the day and the police are pushed to solve rape cases faster, what are they likely to do? More often than not they will get hold of some random guy (the homeless, the slum dweller or probably just about the first person they can get their eyes on) beat the shit out of him and get him to confess to it. How do we ensure something like that does not happen? There is absolutely no way to do that.
Why can’t we make karate compulsory for women
This was another major thought that came across that women should learn karate/martial arts/boxing for their security against men. Great idea! But what will a woman do when four men pounce upon her! Another idea along similar lines was that buses shouldn’t have filmed window panes. As one gentleman wrote in, “Mr.Harish salve in NDTV, insisted that the busses (sic) should not be allowed to have filmed window panes.” Yes, but women are raped in auto-rickshaws, cars, go-downs, homes, everywhere. What do we do about that?
But, like all the other writers, you are also just addressing the problem, without any solution.
I got loads of emails asking me for a solution. One woman wrote in saying “You are the ambassador of media and you should educate the Janta, by writing about the Laws as to what a layman can ask from the Government as a form of justice for such miseries.”
What solution are we talking about? It isn’t rocket science here. We are not talking about how to get an Indian man on the moon. The solution is better policing. But the police in this country have sold themselves out lock, stock and barrel for money. And other than that their attitude towards rape leads me to believe that women will continue to be raped.
As an earlier piece on this website reported, “Satbir Singh, Additional SHO of Sector 31 Police Station, Faridabad, puts it: “Ladkiya jo hai unko yahan tak yahan tak (he gestures to mean that women should cover their entire body, then carries on speaking)…Skirt pehenti hai. Blouse dalti hai; poora nahi dalti hai. Dupatta nahi dalti. Apne aapko dikhawa karti hai. Baccha uske taraf akarshit hota hai.” (Girls should be covered from here to here… They wear skirts, blouses, that don’t cover them fully. Don’t wear a dupatta. They display themselves. A kid will naturally be attracted to her.)”
“Sub-Inspector Arjun Singh, SHO of Surajpur Police Station, Greater Noida, clarifies the position further: “She is dressed in a manner that people get attracted to her. In fact, she wants them to do something to her.””
And why blame the lowly Sub-Inspectors when even the first citizen of this country does not take rape seriously. As an earlier piece on this website pointed out, “It is also worth recalling that before demitting office as President, Pratibha Patil commuted the death sentences of several rapists. A record 30 pardons were granted in double-quick time. Among them was Santosh Yadav, who was already serving a jail sentence for rape. In jail, as gardener of the jailer, he and a fellow convict raped the jailer’s own daughter. He was pardoned by Patil. Dharmender Singh and Narendra Yadav killed a family of five when their minor daughter resisted rape. They, too, were pardoned.”
A women President pardoning rapists. Do I need to say anything more on why I remain pessimistic!
(Vivek Kaul is a writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)