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Sunday, April 18, 2021

No country for women: What is the future of women’s safety in India?

After the incidents this week and in the past few months, we can, unfortunately, say that the ‘Rape Capital of India’ has changed from New Delhi to Uttar Pradesh. Crime against women in Uttar Pradesh has expanded by 20% from 2016 to 2019, says a National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) report released in January. According to the NCRB report for 2017 released in October a year ago, 56011 instances of assault, abuse and other crimes against women were accounted for while the number evidently went up to 59, 445 in 2018.

However, the recent Hathras incident has brought to light the gruesome truth of the state. The question remains as to how unsafe will the state and the country get for women in the near future. Let’s look at a few stats in the past and try to figure out what the future might look like for women’s safety in India.

 

The changing scenario

New Delhi, the capital city of India, received the infamous nickname after the unforgettable, devastating Nirbhaya gang-rape incident of 2012. The city alone reported over 1400 cases in the year 2013 and more than 1800 cases in the year 2014, thereby gaining this degrading title. The city was not able to provide an answer to the questions concerning the safety of its women and the situation only proved to worsen every year. The number of rape cases that Delhi showed was terrifying and it traumatised a lot of families, raised concerns about what the government was capable of handling.

But according to the statistics shown in 2019, Uttar Pradesh has taken a sharp lead. Sadly, it is strictly on the rise to becoming the next rape capital of India. Uttar Pradesh was deemed to be really unsafe for women by the National Crime Records Bureau in 2017 with over 50,000 cases being reported from the state. The Unnao rape case of 2017 created quite a stir among netizens across the country. We could clearly see that there was no respect given to justice in our country when the victim had to threaten to light herself on fire in front of the Chief Minister’s residence before she got the attention she needed. It was a long fight before the accused got the deserved legal punishment in 2019 – life imprisonment. But no lesson was learnt from that or the rising number of cases of violence against women in the country.

 

The 2019 statistics revealed that 86 rape cases were reported from Unnao alone, making it the rape capital of the state of Uttar Pradesh. In one such case, a 23-year-old survivor of rape had filed a case in 2019 against the two rapists and got them arrested. After being released on bail, the accused threatened her. The same 23-year-old was then abducted by five perpetrators and set ablaze, after which she had to run for at least a kilometre before she could get help. But it was all in vain as she died of cardiac arrest soon after.

 

Will our women be safe?

In the midst of the immense political drama over the demise of the assault victim in UP’s Hathras, the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) ‘Wrongdoing in India’ 2019 report indicated how regular violations against women saw a lofty ascent in the nation over. A total of 4,05,861 instances of wrongdoing against women was enrolled in 2019, indicating an expansion of 7.3 per cent more than in 2018. According to the alarming measurements, at regular intervals, a woman is assaulted in someplace in India. In 2019, the nation had recorded 88 assault cases each day. Out of all 32,033 announced assault cases in the year, 11 per cent were from the Dalit community. According to the information, most extreme assault cases were accounted for in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. While Rajasthan revealed 6,000 assault cases a year ago, UP had 3,065 cases. The nation additionally recorded a decrease of 0.7 per cent in instances of seizing and snatching in 2019 over the earlier year, even as women and young girls were casualties in 78.6 per cent of the general cases. A sum of 1,05,037 such cases with 1,08,025 casualties was enlisted in 2019, lesser than 1,05,734 cases in 2018, the information appeared. “The majority of cases under crime against women under IPC were registered under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ (30.9%) followed by ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (21.8%), ‘Kidnapping & Abduction of Women’ (17.9%) and ‘Rape’ (7.9%). The crime rate registered per lakh women population is 62.4 in 2019 in comparison with 58.8 in 2018”, the data shared by NCRB showed.

The list is never-ending if we have to go on. Mostly the cases are not tended to, that has been the case even more in the past few years. The police of Uttar Pradesh paid less notice to the security of the Unnao assault casualty after her victimizers were out on bail. We saw the sheer travesty of justice when the UP Police cremated the body of the Hathras victim not allowing her parents to be a part of the ritual and in the middle of the night. The police stated that there is no proof of rape in this case is also a matter of concern. When the watchdogs themselves begin to forget public service, then criminals seem to get the message that there is no punishing waiting for them when they commit a crime. The individuals who have been accused of assault, are not served appropriate punishment and are let temporarily free from jail. At the point when the charged are forced with fines or transitory punishment, they will generally show their resentment and disappointment in a significantly more fierce manner that has resulted in the killing the assault victim.

The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Indian economy and people’s lives, in general, has proven to be devastating and extremely challenging. But even the massive pandemic failed to stop criminals from committing their heinous crimes even in these distressing times. Rape cases, crimes against women, violence were reported at large during the beginning of the lockdown. Domestic violence cases increased as people were stuck at home. And sadly, UP has again managed to come to the limelight for all the wrong reasons during these testing times. We can only hope and pray this does not continue to happen in India.

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