India is Ashamed: Civil Services Mentor Magazine February 2013


The Indian Moving Bus Gang Rape Case in Delhi is much talked
about and is being followed issue in Indian society these days. What had
happened on the night of 16th of December had shaken the whole nation’s soul and
has also raised the question on the level of inhumanity and brutality one can
ever think of. The incident was a slap – slap on the face of the nation, the
police forces, the government, the judiciary, but above all it was a tight slap
on the face of the humanity. India is ashamed…………………

After they were thrown out of the bus – they were there lying
naked on the road. Shouting and screaming for help. There were many people
surrounding them; looking at them; auto rickshaws and car drivers came and went.
None of them thought of taking them to the hospital, or even to cover their nude
bodies. The whole Delhi (India) turned out to be a rapist – the rapists of
humanity, as no one helped them. In case they had had been helped on time the
reality today with have been different. Three PCR Vans passed by, but none
helped them (claimed by misfortunate girl’s friend in interview). Then after one
of the passerbies called the police and at last when they came after two and a
half hours not even a single police personal had a thought of covering the naked
bodies of the two victims in such a shivering cold.

The gang rape in the capital of a paramedical student, who
died in hospital, should more than just outrage us. Rape is not simply about law
and order, or about deranged individuals. Nor is the problem going to be solved
by more laws, more police on our streets, more CCTV cameras on our buses or
stiffer sentences for rapists. The gang rapes that are occurring with alarming
regularity must compel us to reflect upon who we are as a society. Just like the
killing of young innocents is forcing Americans to address the societal reasons
for such violence and not just blame one individual, Indians need to understand
that gang rape is not just an aberration committed by inhuman men. We need to
address how we as a society are implicated in producing such appalling levels of
violence against women, which is increasingly being tolerated and even
normalised. As women enter the work place and the public arena, their boldness
and confidence seem to trigger a sense of insecurity in a society where men are
used to being in charge. While it is impossible to reduce the issue of violence
to one sole cause, that is men, the fact remains that young men are the ones
committing these crimes. These include the 2003 gang rape of a 17-year-old Delhi
University student in Buddha Jayanti Park; the Dhaula Kuan gang rape in 2005 in
a moving car of a student from Mizoram; and the 2010 gang rape of a young BPO
employee from the north-east.

Caught as they were between the stony silence of an impassive
government and the cynically simplistic demands of Opposition politicians for
instant justice, it is hardly surprising that the leaderless crowds which
spontaneously gathered at India Gate on Saturday and Sunday to protest the
recent incident of rape in the Capital should have ended up in a violent
skirmish with the police. Yes, lumpens looking for a scrap jumped in to take
advantage and yes, the police did respond with mindless brutality against
everyone present. But the primary responsibility for the turmoil surely lies
with our national political leaders who simply lack the ability to understand
and engage with a democratic upsurge from below, especially one that is not
stratified by language, religion or caste. Confronted with the possibility of
mass protest, the government on Saturday should have acted politically to assure
the women of India that a serious national review of all legal issues
surrounding rape, sexual assault and gender rights would be undertaken on a
war-footing. Instead, its first and only instinct was to shut down the public
transport system in Central Delhi and prepare for battle. When thousands of
young women and men arrived at India Gate on Sunday having successfully evaded
official attempts to restrict their movement, they found themselves face to face
with a state apparatus that was not interested in a conversation.

Although arrests have been made after the gang rape incident
and the government has promised a speedy trial, women in New Delhi and the rest
of India do not feel any safer when stepping out of their homes. This is because
they know that the official mindset has not changed. Instead of pushing the
national debate in the direction of serious systemic reform, especially of law
enforcement and justice delivery, a number of Opposition politicians have
started an irresponsible debate on the need for the death penalty, or castration
of rapists. These demands, which have had a populist echo amongst the protesters
at India Gate, ignore the fact that shoddy investigation, poor forensics and
misogynist attitudes among the police and even lower judiciary are the main
reasons why rape victims in India do not get justice. The editorial page article
by Anup Surendranath today explains why castration is not a solution. As for the
death penalty, making it mandatory for rape will make it more likely that a
rapist kills his victim. A committee headed by Justice J.S. Verma has now been
tasked with reviewing the legal position on aggravated sexual assault. What the
government must do is to commit itself to implementing all its recommendations,
including any on police and judicial reform, and not simply cherry pick those
that are politically the most convenient.

What’s happening in world’s biggest democratic Nation. After
this incidence Government and all other authorities are taking some actions for
the security of women but as per other laws, rules and regulations in India
these laws will also be on papers. If we talk about Government or any other
authorities they will not make it happen or may be these laws will be
implemented for 1-2 years or till General Elections in India. The worst thing
about this gang rape incidence is that in all culprits there is an accused who
is juvenile.

Like the gang rape in Delhi, these stories lead many to
believe that rape is a psychopathology; the work of a handful of evil men. It
isn’t: data from across the world shows rape is extraordinarily commonplace.
Every year in the U.S., the highly-regarded Rape, Abuse and Incest National
Network (RAINN) estimates, over 200,000 women suffer sexual assault — one
approximately every two minutes. In 2000, the United Kingdom survey concluded
that 4.9 per cent of all women had experienced at least one rape or sexual
assault; a more recent survey put the figure at above 10 per cent. Ireland,
Sweden and Germany have survey estimates that range from 25 per cent to 34 per
cent. Likelier than not, the 24,206 cases reported to police in 2011 are almost
certainly the tip of the iceberg. Fifty-three per cent of 12,000 children polled
in a 2007 government survey said they had encountered “one or more forms of
sexual abuse.” More than a fifth, over half of them boys, reported severe sexual
abuse. It is almost certain that even more encountered sexual violence.

The hideous gang-rape in Delhi is part of the continuum of
violence millions of Indian women face every single day; a continuum that
stretches from sexual harassment in public spaces and the workplace to physical
abuse that plays itself out in the privacy of our homes far more often than on
the street. Nor is it true, secondly, that Delhi is India’s “rape capital.”
There are plenty of other places in India with a higher incidence of reported
rape, in population adjusted terms — and Delhi’s record on convicting
perpetrators is far higher than the national average. Third, this is not a
problem of policing alone. Finally, India’s society rails against rape, in the
not out of concern for victims but because of the despicable notion that a
woman’s body is the repository of family honour. It is this honour our society
seeks to protect, not individual women. It is time for us as a people to feel
the searing shame our society has until now only imposed on its female victims.


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