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جمعہ، 7 دسمبر، 2012

Women rights’ abuse in India


Most Indians know full well how tough life as a woman can be in the World biggest democracy, even 46 years after Indira Gandhi made history as the country first female prime minister in 1966.
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 Friday, December 07, 2012 - India’s rise to economic prosperity and its claims of being the largest democracy and championing women rights are based on disinformation and are outright fabrication. Assertion that Indian economy’s growth rate is 9%, is also a false indicator since even if the GDP grew at a rate of 7.5%, there was no trickledown effect on its impoverished masses. Suicides due to unemployment, hunger and disease are rampant. As far as championing women’s rights is concerned, the myth is blown by its own media, women rights activists and civil society, which has been raising voices against the crimes against women, but this criticism intensified after the recent reports of rape cases in Haryana one after another. Some media information highlighting the gravity of situation about the crimes against women is presented here.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its research has found that Rape has become India’s fastest growing crime with an exponential increase of 873 per cent in the last five decades. Cases of crime have risen across all states in the country, including Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. In 2011, Mizoram headed the list of rape cases with a rape index (the number of rapes per lakh of women) of 9.1 but this year the number of cases recorded by Haryana has been unprecedented. In 2011, the number of rape cases recorded by NCRB was close to 25,000. From these, 9,398 cases of rape involved children. Women activists blame the rise in rapes primarily to the low conviction levels and the fact that the perpetrators of the crime are generally known to the victim. MP witnessed 3,406 cases followed by West Bengal in 2,363 cases while UP had 2,042 cases in 2011. Delhi has the highest number of rape cases at 568 in 2011. The number of molestation cases in Delhi has also increased at 653 cases as against 601 in 2010. NCRB points out that in 2011, the number of alleged perpetrators either in custody or out on bail is now touching 100,000 as against 4,991 in 1973.

NCRB data shows that in 2011, 725 women were raped in the state, an average of 60 women per month. Since 2006, 50 women have been raped every month, barring 2007 when the number came down to 40. Over the last two years, the average has risen to 60 victims per month. Whether or not the media and politicians take note, violence against women is persistent and unrelenting - and not just in the state of Haryana. In fact, a comparative analysis shows some of Haryana’s neighbouring states fare worse. While Haryana has a rape incidence of 6.11, which means 6 rape victims per 1 lakh women, Madhya Pradesh has an incidence of 9.7, and Delhi 7.06. Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh have lower incidence: 3.61, 5.32, 2.41 per lakh women. More than 19 cases of child rape are reported in India every day. Worse still the number of such cases registered with the police has been rising for the last five years, barring a slight dip in 2009. In 2011, 7,112 such cases were lodged, up from 5,045 in 2007 a jump of over 40% in five years. The number of people convicted for such crimes has also risen, except for a dip in 2008.

The chances of an Indian woman being raped have nearly doubled over the past two decades, but the probability of conviction has declined by a third. The message is clear: India is a dangerous place for women. From the chaos-dominated Haryana to “progressive” Bengal, rape is a grim reality in India. Every 20 minutes, a woman is raped in India. Every third victim of rape is a child, according to 2011 figures from the NCRB. The accused is convicted in only one of every four cases where trial is completed, often stretched over several years. Worse, pendency of rape cases in trial courts has increased from 78% to 83% over the past two decades. Rape, has seen the maximum rise among all the total cognizable crimes in the country recorded under the Indian Penal Code between 1953 to 2011, according to the latest data by NCRB. The NCRB had started collecting data on rape cases only from 1971 while other cognizable crimes have been chronicled from 1953. Among all the states, Madhya Pradesh has emerged as the rape capita! of India with 3406 cases involving this heinous crime - the highest in the country. West Bengal, the state known more for its rich literary heritage, ranks second with 2363 rape cases. Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan follow next with 2042 and 1800 cases, in 2011, there were 9398 cases of rape involving children. Kidnapping and abduction was the second biggest crime in the country with a rise of 749 % as compared with the data chronicled in 1953. Murder and riots followed next increasing by 250 % and 233 % respectively. Incidence of dacoity, burglary and house breaking, however, showed the most declining, trend over a period of 59 years.

Indian government and media have been presenting a rosy picture of human rights in their country and depict a false prosperity through their movies and fashion industry. These are very factors that are responsible for spreading the reprehensible crime of rape. The above mentioned reports, many of which are based on government studies, present true situation faced by Indian women. Now the Indian judiciary is considering taking a serious note of the growing cancer. It is recommending severe punishment for rapists and punitive measures like non-issuance of passports and barring from recruitment into government jobs for eve-teasers.
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 By Sultan M Hali

The writer is international security, current affairs analyst and a former PAF Assistant Chief of Air Staff. 

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