One year of Nirbhaya rape case: Why crimes still continue?

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By Abu Zafar, India Tomorrow,
New Delhi, 15 Dec 2013: At the time when India remembers the barbaric incident of gang-rape of a 23-year-old student in the national capital of New Delhi, the latest data shows that the number of rape and other crimes against women is higher than earlier. Though Delhi Police say the rise in number is because now more victims are coming out and filing a complaint; earlier more cases went unreported, mixed voices are coming from various sections of society.

The latest data states that in Delhi alone, 1,493 cases of rape were reported from January this year to November 30, while it was only 706 in entire 2012. Even cases of molestation have increased from 625 in 2012 to 3,237 in 2013 (by 30 Nov.)

Kavita Krishnan, secretary of All India Progressive Women Association (AIPWA) takes more reporting about crimes against women as a positive development.

“I think this hike in rate of crimes should be seen in a different way. It is true that the rate of crime is very much high but it was underreported earlier; even today it is underreported,” Krishnan told India Tomorrow.

She said that if the reporting is going up then it should be welcomed.

“It is positive thing that women are coming forward and willing to report it. If they think that they will get the kind of support and police will get pressurized to file a complaint, it is good” she adds while referring to the Tehelka case.

But she said she couldn’t rule out the possibility that the number of such incidents is higher than earlier.

On the night of 16 Dec last year, the 23-year-old student was gang-raped and brutally assaulted by six men in a private moving bus in Munirka area of South Delhi. Then they brutally beat her and accompanying male friend, then dumped them nude by road side in the December night of freezing temperature. She was admitted at Safdarjung Hospital but her condition deteriorated she was flown to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore where she died a few days later.
People across the country, especially in Delhi, had protested against the 16 Dec incident and demanded harsh punishment to culprits. The central government appointed a three-member committee to suggest amendments in existing law. The committee gave its report and most of its recommendations were approved by the Parliament. People expected a sharp decline in recurrence of such crimes, but it didn’t. Does it mean that the Nirbhaya movement failed to achieve full success?

Mansi Sharma of ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy) does not think so but she insists to find new directions for the movement.

“I don’t think that our movement has failed but now we need to find out new ways and directions to strengthen our voices,” Sharma said.
According to Sharma patriarchy is root of all such problems.
“Unless the mind-set of our society changes one can’t change everything by law,” she added.

Lovleen Sharma, student of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce in Delhi, says the Nirbhaya movement has encouraged women to come up and report.

“The protest across the country did give fruitful results in majorly two areas, one that the reporting of rapes has increased to a large extent and their coverage by media too which was earlier ignored,” she says.

“Females used to hesitate a lot before complaining against their rapists but now they have gained courage and do react to it by reporting to police. But still molestation and rapes haven’t stopped due to lack of implementation of these laws and less police force,” Sharma explained.

Juhi Khan, member of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), stressed more awareness about stringent laws to curb the crimes.

“I think there is still lack of awareness about stringent laws. We need to create more awareness in masses,” Khan told India Tomorrow.

“Lots of people are still not aware about recent laws. We must send information regarding such laws to every corner of the country,” she added.

Effective measures to curb crimes against women
Wajiha Maryam, a student of Jamia Girls Senior Secondary School, thinks that culprits should be hanged in public and also women should not wear provocative dresses.

“Crimes against women are increasing because culprits of Delhi gang-rape of 16 Dec have not been hanged yet. They should be hanged in public,” Maryam said.

Women should not wear short and provocative dresses,’ she further advised.

“Co-education is very problematic and I think lots of problems start from co-education system,” Maryam added.

Lovleen Sharma is also critical of the system that has not yet punished the December gang-rape culprits.

“Even the accused persons of Delhi rape case have still not been given the right punishment and it is going to be a year when we lost Nirbhaya,” she further added.

Delhi Police had arrested all six men, including a juvenile. All of them were found guilty. Police charged five for rape, murder, kidnapping, and destruction of evidence. One accused reportedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail and other four were given death penalty by a trial court. Their appeal is pending before Delhi High Court.

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