World | India

Delhi gang-rape, a month later: ‘Nothing has changed'

Brutal crimes against women continue to be reported on a daily basis

  • By Karuna Madan, Correspondent
  • Published: 21:53 January 29, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Karuna Madan
  • The mother and father of one of the gang-rape accused Ram Singh.

New Delhi: A month after the death of Jyoti Singh, the 23-year-old who succumed to injuries following a brutal gang-rape in a moving bus in Delhi, every Indian has been jolted out of stupor.

The incident put India on the front pages of international newspapers highlighting the country’s patriarchal setup. However, the bigger question which now haunts everyone is if things have improved since the fateful night of December 16.

Going by the news reports, they have not. Gruesome stories of rape and other crimes against women continue to be reported every day from every part of the country. These are the stories where the police either refused to file the First Information Report (FIR), or where the cops were less sensitive to the victim, or where the rapists were easily let off by the police or judiciary or where the law was simply found to be generous or ineffective.

Anger still persists since the December 16 gang-rape as it is yet to be replaced with hope that things will improve and our women will be safer than ever, and confidence that gender sensitivity will increase in general.

Significantly, in India, if there is one issue that concerns everyone from the poorest to the richest, it is the safety of womenfolk. Though the Central and state governments adopted a number of corrective and reformative measures aimed at improving the safety of women and preventing recurrence of such cases, women in general are yet to come out of the fear psychosis created by the December 16 incident.

The brutality with which the young paramedical student was assaulted by six youths moved the entire nation, triggering national outrage over rising cases of crimes against women. The story of faceless “Nirbhaya” or “Damini” or “Amanat” or whatever you choose to call her prompted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to issue fresh instructions for improving the safety of women.

A slew of developments have taken place since then, including the arrest of all six accused, their trial in the fast track court, launch of women’s helpline, corrective measures taken by Delhi Police, greater coordination among law enforcement agencies and increased patrolling but a lot still needs to be done.

Interestingly, sitting uneasily with the India-on-the-move image, nearly 80 per cent of Delhi women still fear for their safety in the city, a latest survey, conducted by the Delhi government’s Women and Child Development Department, NGO Jagori and international organisation UNIFEM, has revealed.

The survey, released last week, is based on interviews of 5,010 people, including 3,816 women and 944 men. The rest are common witnesses like bus conductors, shopkeepers and auto drivers, who have a probability of witnessing acts of sexual harassment against women.

“Nearly three out of every five women reported facing sexual harassment not only after dark but also through the daytime. But, it is a good sign that 68 per cent of the women deal with harassment in some way like confronting the perpetrator or seeking help from family and friends,” Delhi Women and Child Development Minister Kiran Walia said.

“Public transport, buses and roads with faulty street lights are the spaces where women and girls face a high level of sexual harassment. There is a necessity to understand the problem. Now we have realised the problem, we will be able to find a solution. For instance, we will write for installing CCTVs in buses, then will also make sure that sexual harassment becomes a non-bailable offence through changes in the Criminal Procedure Code,” she added.

Father of the gang-rape victim feels that a change can surely be brought about if people really felt it from the heart.

“If people really feel it from the heart, then we can surely bring about a change, for a change is needed to ensure the safety of the womenfolk in our country henceforth. If no action is taken, from here on we can expect newspapers to be filled with only rape reports daily,” he says in Balia in Uttar Pradesh adding that “we were told that education will empower us but the rape of my daughter who otherwise had a great future ahead, opened our eyes that nothing has changed much in this so-called society of the educated which let her lay by in agony on the road and eventually snatched her away from us.”

Many still feel that they owe it to the young medical student whose dreams were shattered on December 16.

“We owe it to every faceless, nameless rape or molestation victim who might not feature in the headlines but whose story is no less tragic. Given the public outrage since the Delhi gang-rape, I thought that police would adopt a zero tolerance approach towards cases of sexual abuse. However, a month since the incident took place, who is safe now? I guess not a single human born a female: a baby girl, a teen, a lady, an old woman, no one is safe anymore in this country,” says Neha Pant, a Delhi University student.

“It was once a great civilisation that others looked up to. The culture has eroded with time, eclipsed by the wild wild west, in the name of modernisation. Fear of law is the single biggest deterrent in preventing rape but that fear just does not exist in the minds of criminals,” call centre executive Soumya Rana says.

Comments (13)

  1. Added 15:55 January 30, 2013

    The most disappointing factor in India is when you approach the police and even if someone's life is at stake, he says to you "this is not my jurisdiction". I am more than sure thousands of lives have been lost in India because of this one statement. Justice should have been done when the victim had the chance of survival, not wait for the so called police from the jurisdiction to arrive. This is shameful.

    Lorraine Partridge, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 15:34 January 30, 2013

    The SO called indian government is still in deep sleep and will take time to wake up.

    Nishad, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 15:30 January 30, 2013

    Jyothi Singh died for no fault of hers and so did the case of these 6 culprits as well. If she had survived; things might have been different.

    hamid shahbaz, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 15:26 January 30, 2013

    punishment should be done in public so that they'll see what happens if they commit such crime

    singh, mumbai, India

  5. Added 14:33 January 30, 2013

    Nothing will change now or forever because everywhere it's poltics and corruption. If the government is really concerned about the welfare of the people they would have taken swift action against the criminals. Inspite of several eye witnesses and their proof, there is so much confusion and delay. There should not be any support from the lawyers. No one should fight this case on behalf of the criminals. Trust me, this case will go on for at least 5 years.

    Fiaz, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 14:03 January 30, 2013

    I am very sure the laws, police all are waiting for time to pass and everything is forgotten and they will get away with their punishment for a hideous crime committed by whatever age. I ask the people not to forget, but keep reminding the persons concerned to take action asap like it would have been if it were their wife, daughter or mother. They should be ashamed and given capital punishment in front of the public like. Wake up and give them the punishment they deserve. What are you thinking and wasting time for?

    Emma, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 13:41 January 30, 2013

    Without doubt, Dubai is the safest place especially for women. Nowhere in the world you will find girls and women out on the street moving freely even during early hours. The authorities must be appreciated. Unfortunately this is also India's biggest problem.

    R Jose, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 13:03 January 30, 2013

    So sorry for the families facing this horror situation. These types of horros will never go from our country until they stop the hunger for money and ladies. Absolutely no respect for human life. India will be the great developing nation even after hundreds of years. Thousands of laws and thousands of loop holes through which any criminal can escape or minimizes the terms. We can just pray to God that nothing of this should happen to our families.

    Ajay M Nair, Sharjah, India

  9. Added 12:34 January 30, 2013

    Its high time India opts a capital punishment rule for criminals in front of public, or else criminals will take it for granted and never bothers to stop such crimes. May Allah protect each and every girl throughout the globe. Ameen.

    Mohammad, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 12:06 January 30, 2013

    Date, Date, Date and only Date, But you will never get JUSTICE in India. Then everybody will forget this SAD MATTER one day. We required to follow God's made Rules not a Man made.

    Mohammed Ali, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  11. View more comments

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