A few months ago, I was sitting in my chair with my customary cup of morning coffee and the newspaper in my hand.Turning the pages, I read of the brutal rape and murder of school going girls in Uttar Pradesh,a state in India. Apart from the heinous nature of the way in which the girls were raped, their bodies mutilated, and then hanged, I was more appalled by my reaction to the crime. Instead of feeling deep anger and also the inability to prevent such happenings which I usually felt, this time I just felt a tad sad and moved on to the Sports page.
Such is, I think the case with most people in India nowadays. Rape cases and crimes against women have become so common that people hardly ever give them a second glance. Gone were the days when until about 2-3 years ago,there used to be widespread protests and agitations by the general public against such crimes.
A newspaper article I read said that the number of rape cases in India has risen by about 9 times in the last few decades.Where has the country which considers respecting women as one of it’s moral values gone wrong? Where have we as citizens of this great country lost our way? We still get up and offer our seats to a standing lady in the bus, but when it comes to respecting her body, somehow we seem to lag behind.
One of the main reasons for the large increase in crimes against women I think has been the moral apathy of the police forces towards them. In the case of the rape mentioned above , the police refused to register a missing complaint for the girls and did not initiate a search for them for a whole day.
Although the Government of India has set up a separate Nirbhaya fund 3 years ago for implementing steps for reducing crimes against women, a lot still is left to be desired. There is no reduction in the number of rape cases, rather, there has been an increase. The people who rape go scott free and are never caught or tried which says a lot about the weak judicial system in the country. There are even no rehabilitation centres where the victim can recover from her trauma and get back to her feet. Whatever such centres are there, they cannot be afforded by the poor. Plus, the victim is a social outcast throughout her life.
The government first of all needs to revamp its entire judicial and police system. Fast track courts dedicated to crime against women need to be setup. Police should be made responsible for quick response and also adequate funds should be allocated for the NGO’s which care for the rape victim. These women NGO’s already are doing a lot of constructive work with limited resources. What they need is proper government support.
While changing the mentality of the people will take a lot of time, there is no better time to start than now.