21st Century India cannot forget the day of 16 December 2012. The day a 23-year-old paramedical student was repeatedly raped, tortured brutally and thrown off the moving bus along with her friend. There were 6 assailants including one juvenile. She was attacked by an iron rod and her internal organs were severely damaged to add insult to injury they were looted too. The following days India saw huge protests from all the sections of the society demanding the arrest of the culprits as well as prayers for Nirbhaya. According to Indian rules, the name and further details of the victim should not be disclosed. So the records named her Nirbhaya for her resistance and valour.
This particular incident brought new waves in the Indian judiciary, like the establishment of fast-track courts to hear rape cases and even amendments in the law. The men were found guilty, the juvenile was released after 3 years and one was found dead in prison in 2013 - the cause of the death is suicide. The rest 4 were hanged in 2019. Even after these many protests, movements and the imposing of capital punishment has not secured the life and honour of the women in India. After this incident, people started to come forward and report the assault they had faced. The disappointing fact is that these measures never decreased the violence against women.
The lesson is not learned. That brings us to 2019 Hyderabad gang rape. The night of 27 November 2019 a 26-year-old vet was raped and murdered. The corpse was found the next day and it was in a burned state. This again raised long protests and marches. ‘Disha’ is the name given to her according to the police records. There were 4 suspects in the case, they were arrested and later taken into judicial custody remanded for 14 days, but were killed in a police encounter on 6 December 2019.
There was no proper trial conducted in this case. They were not proven guilty too. The negligent behaviour of the police on the night of 27 November was widely criticised. So this act of encounter is believed to be an act to save the face of the police. I believe justice was not served in the case.
The government, as well as the citizens, has a responsible duty to ensure the safety of the woman. We have the right to a dignified life. The popular comment on such incidents was that woman has to stay indoors and what is the need of women going out during nights. Women staying indoors is not a perfect solution for preventing such heinous crimes. Every individual should be taught to see a woman as a person and not a commodity to use for your satisfaction. We are not something that has to be taken for granted!!
According to National Crime Reports Bureau, a total of 33,356 incidents of rape were reported in India during 2018. This means that one rape was reported every 15 minutes in the country. Out of this, every 4th victim was a minor while more than 50% of the victims belonged to the age category of 18 to 30. These statistics reveal that being a girl even my life is at stake in this country. The female population of this country is not safe both indoors and outdoors. If we still think that keeping our girls indoors all the time is the best safety notion, then so sorry to say this: “we are living in a bubble and that can burst any time”.
The 2 incidents happened at night but don’t mean that daylight is safe. Nasty things are happening even in daylight too, just around us; however, we are so ignorant to take notice. No, we only take notice when something drastic happens.
There comes the popular notion that things are repeatedly happening because girls are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Who decides the wrong place and the wrong time? Along with this, ‘girls are always advised to move out of their houses accompanied by a male’. See the case of nirbhaya, she was with her friend - a male friend to be precise. So the time has arrived to change our old mindsets.
Nirbhaya hailed from a normal family. That made her work late nights at a call centre. The rich privileges were not guaranteed to her like the ¾ of the population of the country. That made her depend upon the public transport facility. Whereas, Disha was a professional and even had her vehicle. Things were different for both Disha and Nirbhaya but both ended up in terrible misery. The assailants arrested on both the cases were not from the affluent situations too. Even in the case of Disha we still do not know that the accused were the real culprits or not. These guys were caught maybe because they were not powerful enough to have an efficient hide-out after the incidents and the lack of god-fathers to save them.
There were other incidents too where the perpetrators were powerful in the society and the justice system does not want to touch them and to serve right. Still, we fight to bring what is righteous.