ON December 28, a day before the Delhi gangrape victim died, a six-and-a-half-year-old was raped in Pithampur in Madhya Pradesh while playing outside her shanty. Her father, a mason, was away, and her mother was at a neighbour’s place. Three days later, an 18-year-old tribal girl, a manual labourer in a power plant, was gangraped by four youth in Singrauli district. There is an eerie rhythm to events such as these.
Both these victims belonged to the ‘Bharat’ of Mohan Bhagwat. And while chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan may like to call himself the ‘mama’ (maternal uncle) of all the betis in his state, it has not made women in the state any safer. Madhya Bharat, in fact, has been where rape against poor women and girls has for centuries been almost socially sanctioned.
Given the numbing statistics, one would have expected the custodians of the land to be more empathetic towards the plight of women. Instead, with the Delhi case offering a cue, senior minister Babulal Gaur called for a “dress code in keeping with the Indian culture”. State industries minister Kailash Vijayvargiya went further. “There is a word called limit,” he said. “Whenever the limit is crossed, Sita is abducted. There is a lakshmanrekha for everyone. You cross the lakshmanrekha and a Ravana is waiting to spirit you away.” His suggestion? Women should wear dupattas. One wonders which lakshmanrekha women in his state have crossed, or little girl children skipped over, to meet the fate they do?
The government claims that the high number of rapes reflects the police earnestness in recording complaints. Chauhan has also requested the chief justice of the state high court to spare judges for special fast-track courts for cases of atrocities against women for every district. Nine such courts, it was announced, would become functional this month alone. However, how long this flurry of activity will last and whether it will enhance safety of women and girls from the lower castes and the rural poor is questionable.
Rape in Madhya Pradesh is indeed grossly under-reported (Irrational Numbers?, Jan 21). The modus operandi is to deflate the tyres of the vehicles of couples going out for a late-night show and then a group of ruffians coming to the aid of the ‘Bhabhijis’. And it isn’t as if the police is unaware of this.
The high number of rape cases may be more indicative of the fact that the law and order mechanism is working in the state to record as many cases of rape as possible.And one must admire the work of Shivraj Chauhan, in expanding the number of courts. The judicial system in India is sick and failing and needs immediate cure by expansion and this is something that right wing BJP government has correctly undestood, unlike the left wing rabblerouser UPA supporters who love to curse darkness but not like lighting candles.
Doesn't utopian 'left wing paradise on earth' Sweden, report most number of cases in Europe and possible one of the highest per capita rape crime numbers in the world?
I think women, living in different parts of India can indeed, be the best judges of their safety & it is their word we must trust completely.
Numbers are important, but the Sweden example limits their importance
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