Is India A Rapist Country?
Since the fundamentalist government of the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, various extremist policies have continued unabated by the Indian rulers. In this regard, rising number of crimes against women, especially rapes are attributable to religious fanaticism and lack of law enforcement.
Modern India is witnessing repeat of two identical tendencies of the past i.e, the society is immensely becoming Hindu radicalized and due to growing male chauvinist trend for rape, the womenfolk feel insecure and precarious. Rape is becoming one of the fastest growing social evil in India.
In a recent incident of rape, a 13 year old girl belonging to a low caste tribe was raped and beheaded by an upper class Hindu namely Dinesh Kumar for refusing to have sex, in a small village near Attur, Salem district of Tamil Nadu. According to local media, “The accused named as Dinesh Kumar, was teasing her since last month and the family due to their social status could not get response from the village panchayat being dominated by upper caste Hindus.”
Nevertheless, frequent incidents of rape/murder and caste ridden incidents have increased manifolds in India. Interestingly, India has also enacted “criminalizing caste-based violence act” in 1989 to thwart such type of crimes, however, due to societal tendencies and strong caste system, violence against low caste Hindus has visible curse on Hindu society. As per India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), “total number of crimes against people of lower castes was more than 47,000 in 2016” (There is no correct official available data for 2017 and 2018).
NCRB also revealed that a crime against a woman is committed every three minutes, a woman is raped every 15 minutes. According to past statistics, NCRB reported the highest number of crimes against women in 2015. It disclosed, “As many as 2,016 cases of gang-rape were reported in 2015 from all the states and Union Territories. A total of 34,651 rape cases (Section 376 of IPC) were reported in 2015…a total of 2,199 rape cases were reported from Delhi…and over 130,000 cases of sexual assault in 2015…crimes against women reported every two minutes in India…between March 2004 and 2005…more than 600 rape cases were registered in Delhi in 2005.” NCRB statistics also show more than 18,100 people were tried for rape in the country in 2003. Rape cases pending in courts across the country till Oct 2003 were 56,000.”
A study in India found that 42% of all female respondents reported experiencing some type of violence, with 29% reporting physical violence and 69% reporting psychological abuse.
Statistics disclosed that Dalit women are harassed, raped and even murdered with impunity. In May, this year, two Dalit girls were raped in small village of Katra, Uttar Pradesh. In another occurrence, 17-year-old girl was gang raped in Azamgarh district, UP on May 30 by two policemen. In this respect, Kalpana Kannabiran-Director of the Council for Social Development Dalit said, “Women are more vulnerable to sexual crimes than other social groups. They feel more insecure, and face structural violence”.
It is noteworthy that in February 2016, Jat community (a relatively well-off upper caste Hindu tribe) had organized protest in Haryana causing widespread disruption. Reportedly, during those protests, some protestors had dragged out nine Dalit women from their houses and gang raped for nothing. Similar incidents also happened in Tamil Nadu. Sexual violence is not restricted to rural areas, however Hyderabad’s crime records bureau pointed out that over the past three years, 37 Dalit and tribal women in the city were raped by upper castes Hindus. In January and October, this year, rape of infants (8 months and 14 months babies) was reported in New Delhi and Gujarat shaking the conscience of the humanity.
In this connection, some other major rape cases are mentionable. On April 14, 2015, an officer of Indian Administrative Service, SN Roy in Haryana has been sent on leave after being accused of sexually abusing a woman who complained to the police. On March 28, a woman from Bengaluru filed a complaint with Delhi police against an immigration officer who sexually harassed her at Indira Gandhi International Airport. On March 21, a court in Delhi granted bail to environmentalist R.K. Pachauri who was facing a case of sexual attack on a woman research- analyst. On March 18, the naked body of a 75-year-old woman was found at an ashram in West Bengal’s Burdwan district.
The NCRB data also disclosed, “The rape victims included women across all age groups, from under six years of age to over 60.”
The issue of rape cases against women gained global attention with the 2012 Delhi gang rape case. The cases have rapidly been growing ever since.
In their ordeal, local Indian women are not alone, as rape of foreigners, tourists and Hindu pilgrims from other countries is also on rise in India. Five men were arrested in Kolkata and charged for raping a Japanese tourist. Police said that the men operated as a gang and targeted single Japanese tourist. Similarly, an Uber taxi driver was charged with sexually assaulting a passenger.
In this context, a number of rape cases, targeting foreign women have come to the surface in India in 2013. In March 2013, a 38 year old Swiss woman was gang-raped in a forest near Datia town by six Indians. In January 2013 a South Korean student was drugged and raped by the son of owner of the hotel where she was staying.
Regrettably, a British holidaymaker in the northern city of Agra suffered a leg injury when she jumped out of the hotel window to save her honor, as two men entered her hotel room with the intent to molest her. In February 2013, a Chinese woman, working in Gurgaon, was raped by an Indian acquaintance. In May 31, 2013, a young Irish woman was raped by a man in a house in Kalighat area.
In a notorious case, five years ago, 15-year old British schoolgirl Scarlett Keeling was raped and left to die on a beach in the tourist resort of Goa. In another shameful case, in June 3, 2013, a US national was gang-raped by three men in a truck in Manali.
Therefore, taking cognizance of sexual assaults on ladies, British and Swiss governments, including those of other countries have already issued instructions to women tourists to refrain from going to India due to growing risks of insecurity by the Indian officials.
In this respect, The New York wrote in June 10, 2013, “Visits to India by female tourists dropped 35 percent in the first three months of this year compared with the same period last year. That three-month period came after the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi in December…every day women face the harassment and intimidation in India…As many sexual attacks go unreported and that the actual number is far higher…sexual offense law in March that imposes stronger penalties for violence against women. But attacks on women have continued with an alarming regularity. While Indian women are most often the targets, foreign tourists have been victims as well.”
Sumit Galhotra, a journalist who specializes in human rights in South Asia, opined that he has noticed, “While some rape cases in India have received widespread coverage in the local media, but others have not, particularly rape cases in rural India, which are routinely ignored in the press…despite the pervasiveness of India’s rape problem, only a few cases get international headlines.”
Nonetheless, in such a horrific event, on 14 March 2015 an elderly 71-year-old nun was sexually abused in front of her colleague nuns. Father Dominic Emmanuel of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese said in televised comments, “This one becomes even worse because, first of all, she is an old lady and then on top of it, she is a nun. She is a religious (and) has consecrated her life to God and all her life she has remained a virgin. Anti-rape activists complained when the Indian government restricted the broadcast of a BBC documentary about rape that included comments from one of those men.” He provoked outrage around the world by blaming the victim and saying, “the woman should just be silent and allow the rape.”
Notably, incidentally, in every rape incident, the perpetrator of the crime will be mostly Hindu or fanatic. Sadly, the crime is perpetrated by gangs of fanatics during the communal violence targeting Muslim minority in India, which clearly reflects the sick mindset of Indian radicalized society.
It is worth-mentioning that on March 29, 2015, Indian newspaper, “The Hindu” reported that a Pune policeman has been booked for molesting a minor Pakistani national at her residence. Anand Gidde, attached to the Pakistan desk of the Foreigners Registration Office, visited the 13-year-old’s house on March 24 ostensibly for verifying her documents. Nevertheless, rape of a Pakistani Hindu minor girl is driven by general acrimony of Indians against Pakistan. Despite repeated demand of Pakistani High Commission in India, no action had been taken against the culprit Anand Gidde who had also managed a bail before arrest.
It is of particular attention that on February 27-28, 2002, several helpless Muslims women were being raped and murdered across Gujarat, with the approval of the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, under a preplanned programme of the communal rights. In this connection, Abdul Majid, survival of the Gujarat massacre revealed that his son suffered terrible burns. They poured petrol on the mosques and they came towards our house, screaming slogans. Young girls were raped. And they screamed “victory to the Hindu God. None of you Muslim will get away.” He claimed that his eyes have seen his children and wife dying, he saw his daughters raped by four men.
Although, rising number of rapes is attributable to religious fanaticism, nation’s patriarchy, widespread poverty and lack of law enforcement, yet due to involvement of the BJP leaders/persons in rape incidents have got the attention of the world.
Taking note of the rape cases under the BJP-led government, many bloggers on Social Media and WhatsSapp remarked that name of the Bharatiya Janata Party must be changed, calling it Balatkari (Rapist) Party. In wake of these incidents against women, question has arisen, is India a rapist country?