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New Delhi: Women and children druing a dharna aganist rape incidents at Rajghat in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo (PTI4_13_2018_000116B) Image Credit: PTI

what you need to know:

  • Rape, murder: Are women safe in India?
  • They government needs to do more to ensure safety of women.

Reading the newspaper nowadays sends shivers down my spine. Not a single day passes without hearing an incident of molestation or the rape of a woman in India, my country.

I hate to admit it, but reading news about rape cases has become the new normal. It’s unfortunate that every crime involving women is getting more brutal and violent. The age of the victims we hear about are as young as two and three. They are babies.

I am talking about Swati Sharma, a young, innocent child hailing from Aligarh who had so much to look forward to in life, but was murdered and raped because of a financial dispute between her parents and the culprit.

If news is to be believed, the culprit had a allegedly molesting his own daughter, in the past. The world is shocked and enraged. Twitter is ablaze with people, including celebrities rallying together, urging the government to take severe action against the culprits.

Actress and author, Twinkle Khanna, asked Indian politician Smriti Irani to take swift action against the perpetrators. Bollywood actors Raj Kumar Rao and Abhishek Bachchan have vehemently condemned this heinous crime too.

We are a country of billions, out of which 48 per cent are women. Shouldn’t our government’s top priority be the safety of women? The safety and the right to live without any fear is every citizen’s right. Unfortunately, women are being robbed of this. New Delhi, the capital, reports some of the highest numbers of rapes in India. The 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a bus in the city scared the world, resulted in candle marches and nation-wide protests.

At a time like this where I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, the Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal proposes free public transportation for women in the city, to improve women’s safety.

Some women say, they will continue to ride and pay for the Metro service. However, some have defended the proposal.

Pritish Nandy, a journalist and television personality thinks it’s a wonderful idea and asks if Mumbai will emulate the same.

However some people believe that making transportation free will not solve the problem. Professor Dinesh Mohan, a transport expert with the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, once said that making public transport free wouldn’t solve the problem.

He said: “You need to think about the entire journey and not just the Metro - you have to take into account how safe or unsafe sidewalks are and what the journey to the Metro station is like in the first place....”

I completely agree with Mohan. How does this initiative make sure that women of all age groups and at all times, benefit?

It’s a known fact that in most rape cases the culprit is someone known to the victim. The initiative needs to be well thought out so that it can be useful to everyone.

We need stringent action to be taken against culprits to set an example.

- The reader is a writer based in Dubai.