#India- Prisons shut away from all human rights


Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 24, 2013
West Bengal‘s Dum Dum Central Jail could put the notorious Abu Ghraib in a shade going by some of the disturbing incidents which have taken place there recently. A mere request for better food earned Bikram Mahato, undergoing trial for murder, a severe beating after which he was handcuffed and  kept naked in a cell. And this is not an isolated incident in this jail. When Mahato had complained about the quality of the food in 2010, the authorities in a cruel response forced him to drink a solution of bleaching powder. In the same year, Sheikh Farhat Mahmood was stripped and beaten in Kolkata‘s Presidency Central Jail for wanting some time out of his cell. What compounds this brutality is the fact that all these were undertrials, presumed innocent until proven guilty for the crimes that they are accused of.The government estimates that undertrials make for 67% of its prison population. According to a report released by the National Crime Records Bureau in 2011, the number of undertrials in the country was 2,41,200. The fact that there are more undertrials than there are convicts suggests that the system is dragging its feet over the fate of many who may be innocent. There is merit in the advice that  undertrials and convicts be kept separately. But the real issue here is judicial delays and with this often the miscarriage of justice. There were 66,569 cases still pending in the Supreme Court at the end of January 2013, and at the end of 2011, there were still 3.2 crore cases awaiting resolution in the higher and subordinate courts. Some like Machang Lalung waited for 54 years in a prison. Charged with physical assault when he was 23, the Assamese tribal was surprisingly never tried. In 2007, he was freed at the age of 77. He died in 2009, two years after his release. There was no recompense for a lifetime of wrongful captivity.

An advisory issued to states by the central government this month gives cause for some hope. Wanting to correct the systemic wrongs that see undertrials imprisoned for indefinite lengths of time, the Centre has asked states to release all such individuals, if and when they complete half the sentence their presumed offence demands. While rampant poverty and illiteracy among undertrials seem to have informed such a measure, the happenings at Dum Dum Central Jail cannot be allowed to slide. If West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee wants to put an end to the rot in the state’s prisons, she could take a leaf out of UP‘s book where 71 undertrial prisoners are appearing for board examinations this year. She must understand that this sort of trial by error is hardly in the interest of the people who looked to her for a more humane form of governance.

One death penalty every third day in India; UP tops the list #shameindia


 Saturday, February 16, 2013
Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times
New Delhi,
Notwithstanding the rarest of rare doctrine propounded by the Supreme Court, awarding death penalty does not appear to be so rare for courts in India.

Indian courts gave death penalty to 1455 convicts during 2001-11, an average of 132.27 convicts per year, Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) said in a report released on Thursday. 

Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 370 death sentences, followed by Bihar (132).

https://i0.wp.com/www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/2/16-02-pg10a.jpg

Interestingly, no death penalty was imposed in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim) and Union Territories (Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Lakswadweep), the report stated.

Based on records of the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB), Union ministry of home affairs, the ACHR report – The State of Death Penalty in India 2013 – said sentences for 4,321 convicts were commuted from death penalty to life imprisonment during this period.

The highest number of commutation – 2,462 – happened in Delhi, followed by followed by  Uttar Pradesh (458).

But thousands of convicts still remain on death row, the report stated.

“This implies that on average one convict is awarded death penalty in less than every third day in India. The rarest of rare case doctrine for application of death penalty has become routine.

“Death penalty is no longer the exception but the rule,” said ACHR Director Suhas Chakma, who is Coordinator of the National Campaign for Abolition of Death Penalty in India.

He demanded abolition of capital punishment contending “there is no scientific or empirical basis to suggest that death penalty acts as a deterrent against any crime.”

On the execution of Parliament Attack Case convict Afzal Guru, Chakma said the government must assuage the sentiments of his family members who had effectively been not informed about the impending execution on February 9.

“The State itself must not be flouting or circumventing the rules as it erodes the belief in the rule of law. Guru was hanged out of the queue and was denied the right to appeal against the rejection of mercy petition,” he said.

On the rejection of mercy pleas of four associates of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan, the ACHR Director said in its attempt to address political fallout of the botched up execution of Afzal Guru the UPA government would carry out further executions of death row convicts.

“India as the land of Valmiki, Lord Buddha, Gandhi etc must follow its own civilisational values and take effective measures to join the countries which have abandoned retributive justice system and abolished death penalty,” Chakma said.

Death Penalty awarded during 2001-11
Uttar Pradesh-370
Bihar -132
Maharashtra -125
Karnataka- 95
Tamil Nadu -95
Madhya Pradesh-87
Jharkhand- 81
West Bengal- 79
Delhi-71
Gujarat-57

Death Penalty Commuted during 2001-11
New Delhi-2462
Uttar Pradesh-458
Bihar-343
Jharkhand-300
Maharashtra-175
West Bengal-98
Assam -97
Odisha -68
Madhya Pradesh-62
Uttaranchal -46

 

#India -Make gender sensitivity part of police appraisal #Vaw #womenrights


RAPE

VijaitaSingh : New Delhi, Mon Feb 04 2013, 02:32 hrs

A high-level meeting headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth last month cleared a series of measures to check cases of crime against women in the wake of the Delhi gangrape incident, including adding ‘gender sensitivity’ as an index of assessment in the annual appraisal report of police officers.

These measures will be in addition to the ones proposed in the ordinance, passed on Sunday, to strengthen laws to help fight sexual crimes against women.

At the meeting, it was decided that the Union Home Ministry and Telecom Ministry would draw up a concept note on creating a countrywide emergency number on the lines of the US (911) and UK (999) by the end of February. Any distress call to this number would be seamlessly transferred to the department concerned without harassment to the caller.

The 181 emergency number, a women’s helpline launched by the Delhi government last month, will also be made operational throughout the country.

Officials from other departments, such as the Delhi Police, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and HRD Ministry, also attended the meeting, which touched upon a spectrum of issues that have come under focus following the gangrape. The Delhi Police asked for an additional 370 PCR vans, which was okayed immediately.

Among the measures cleared:

* The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to put up names, photographs and details of sexual offenders on its website.

* Surprise checks at police stations to check how effectively officials are dealing with complaints related to women.

* The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to review the Motor Vehicle Act and come up with suggestions on curtains and tinted glasses in luxury buses. The Delhi government to come up with a notification banning tinted glasses in buses by the end of February. This order to be sent to other states.

* The Home Ministry to come up with a protocol on “100 per cent verification” of all bus drivers, cleaners and helpers. It was decided that there should be a defined time frame for this, beyond which no bus without this should be allowed to ply.

* Quantum of fines levied for violation of permit conditions be hiked and repeat offenders should have their permits cancelled.

* The Home Ministry should ask all states to hold major recruitment drives for women police personnel.

* There should be at least some PCR vans with a woman constable each. These vans should be deployed outside malls, marketplaces, colleges, cinema halls.

* More buses for women and installation of GPS in all public buses.

 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE-SC directs compulsory registration of FIRs in all missing children cases


Press Release

 

17 Jan., 2013, New Delhi:  In a major breakthrough, the Supreme Court of India has passed landmark directions for registration of First Information Reports (FIRs) in every complaint of missing children in the country.

In a writ petition filed by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a Supreme Court bench headed by a Chief Justice of India, Justice Altamas Kabir, and of Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice Jasti Chelameswar, has expressed serious dissatisfaction over the lukewarm response from all state governments from across the country on the issue of missing children. The Court has summoned the Chief Secretaries of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Arunachal Pradesh, to appear in person on 5th Feb. 2013, as these states have even failed to appear before the court and had not filed any status reports.

Accepting the arguments of Mr. H.S. Phoolka (Senior Adv.) and Mr. Jagjit Chhabra (Advocate on Record) appearing for the petitioner that every day hundreds of children are going missing without a trace and law enforcement agencies are not serious in their efforts to stop this crime and immediate steps for the recovery of these children must be taken, the Court directed immediate registration of FIRs. The Court has also accepted recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission to set up Special Juvenile Police Units at every police station across the country with a dedicated Child Welfare Officer/Special Juvenile Police Officer, to swiftly act in cases of all children in need of care and protection as well as in conflict with law.

According to BBA, almost 100,000 children go missing, with over 30,000 remaining untraced each year in the country (as per National Crime Records Bureau data). However, less than 10,000 cases are ever registered. Mr. R. S. Chaurasia, Chairperson BBA said, “Govt. Accepts that 7 children go missing every hour. In the absence of a clear definition of ‘missing child’ coupled up with apathy, lackadaisical approach and no respect for children especially those belonging to the poorer sections of society, these directions of the Supreme Court will be a shot in the arm for our efforts against organised crime of trafficking involving these missing children.

“Many times the complaints from parents, especially those of adolescent girls, result in insensitive and lewd remarks from the police that the girl may have eloped with her lover, leaving the parents in lurch for tracing their children all by themselves”, he added.

 

Warm Regards

 

Shri. R.S Chaurasia

Chairperson,

Bachpan Bachao Andolan

 

 

The rapist in the mirror #delhigangrape #Vaw #gender


PRAVEEN SWAMI, The Hindu

If we are to combat sexual violence in our cities, it is time to begin discussing the dysfunctions of young urban men

“I remember seeing a documentary about some animal being eaten from behind while its face seemed to register disbelief, fear, and self-hate at its own impotence,” recalls Roy Strang, the rapist at the centre of Irvine Welsh’s supremely disturbing Marabou Stork Nightmares, of one of his victims. “That was what she reminded me of,” says Strang, watching his victim’s eyes, “frozen,” “dead,” through the mirror he forced her to hold up to her face as he raped her.

Last month’s gang rape in New Delhi has focussed nationwide attention on the epidemic proportions of sexual violence against women in India. Long overdue debates on criminal justice and gender have begun — along, predictably, with bizarre calls for schoolgirls’ bodies to be concealed under overcoats and curfews. Yet, there have been only the awkward beginnings of a discussion on the problem itself — men.

It is time, though, to start looking at the rapist in the mirror.

RITUALS OF MASCULINITY

To anyone familiar with young men in India’s cities and towns, Strang’s world is far from alien. For many youth worldwide, violence against women — a spectrum that runs from gang rape to domestic violence and street sexual harassment — is part of the system of masculinity-making rituals, along with sport, drinking and brawling. 58 per cent of men arrested for rape in India in 2010 were aged 18-30; in the United States, 55 per cent are below the age of 30. 53.92 per cent of men held that year for molestation or sexual harassment were also from the same age group.

This is not to suggest that a dysfunctional masculinity is the root of rape; few human behaviours have a single cause. Yet, from the testimonies of women, we know that this cohort of young men have made homes and streets the site of a pervasive gender terrorism.

Rape, though, is something rapists do, not who they are. Precisely why particular individuals find pleasure in inflicting violence on women is a question everyone from evolutionary biologists to cultural theorists have weighed in on; there is no consensus, and may never be. Yet, as Welsh noted, strange behaviour “always has a context.” Five such contexts suggest themselves as possible keys to the production of India’s urban-male dysfunction. Together, these contexts ensure young men are rarely fully weaned; able to lead an adult life characterised by agency and individual choice. The consequence is a deep rage that manifests itself in nihilist behaviours.

India’s transforming urban economy has, firstly, produced a mass of young, prospectless men. The parents of these children, many first-generation migrants to cities, worked on the land or were artisans. Though this generation’s position in the economy may have been inequitable, its agency as workers was not. The young, though, find themselves fighting for space in an economy that offers mainly casual work. This casualisation has come about even as hard-pressed parents are spending ever more on education. Even the pressures on middle-class and lower middle-class men are enormous. Frequently coddled in son-worshipping parents, young men are only rarely able to realise the investment and hopes vested in them.

For a second context to hyper-violent masculinity, we must look at culture. Increasingly, cities have no recreational spaces for young men. Films, long one of the few cultural activities that a working-class audience could participate in, now target élites; movie theatre prices exclude large parts of the youth population. There is diminishing access to theatre, art, music and sport. In its place, the street becomes the stage for acting out adulthood, through substance abuse and violence.

Thirdly, a number of young men, particularly in new urban slums, are being brought up by no-parent families — families that fathers have abandoned or are largely absent from, and where mothers work long hours. Elsewhere in the world, too, this social crisis has been linked to sexual violence. South African researcher Amelia Kleijn, in a 2010 study of child rapists, found most had deprived childhoods marked by “physical and emotional abuse, as well as neglect.”

Fourth, there is a crisis of sexuality. Few men, working class or rich, have access to a sexual culture which allows them sexual freedoms or choices. The crisis is exacerbated by the fact that sections of urban élites participate in a sexual culture which is relatively liberal — a culture that young men can watch on television and in public spaces, but never hope to participate in. For some, the sexually independent woman is thus enemy to be annihilated. In his hit song C**t, the rape-valorising rap star Honey Singh voices his yearning to kick a woman after raping her, to drive out the bhoot of ego from her head. Similarly, Strang sees on the streets a wash of “blonde and auburn wigs, lipstick smeared on those deadly pincer-like insect jaws.”

COMMODITIES

Young men of all classes, finally, see women as status-enhancing commodities — emulating the long-standing gender privileges tradition has vested in élite men.

None of these five contexts is new. Particular stresses linked to the reordering of India’s social fabric, though, are giving new lethality to gender inequity. In a 2008 paper, Jon Wolseth showed how neoliberalism created the conditions for a murderous surge of youth gang violence in the Honduras during the 1980s. Economic policies, he argued, had not just impoverished the poor; they also tore apart community networks, diminished public spaces and closed the door to political participation. Evangelical Christianity and the assault rifle-armed gang emerged as mode of liberation. Elsewhere in Latin America, scholars have observed much the same.

In India, women’s bodies appear to have become the principal terrain on which male rage is venting itself. It isn’t that young Indian men are inherently violent than they were in the past. In 2011, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, 29,937 men between 18 and 30 were arrested for murder. Twenty years earlier, it was 38,961. In 1991, 270,602 men of this age group were arrested for rioting; in 2011, the figure was 72,867. Sexual violence data, though, trends the other way. 8,864 18-30 men were arrested for rape in 1991; 16,528 in 2011. Molestation and sexual harassment arrests from this cohort have also almost doubled, from 23,075 in 1992, the first year for which data is available, to 32,581 in 2011.

Lacking agency isn’t, obviously, the cause of sexual violence: women aren’t responding to their disenfranchisement by attacking men; men with power can, and do, rape. The point here is, rather, that the large-scale disempowerment of urban men is lending intensity to a pre-existing culture of sexual violence.

ILLUSION OF EMPOWERMENT

For many men, then, violence against women works much as drugs do for addicts: it offers at least the illusion of empowerment where none exists, fixing feelings of rage and impotence. This, in turn, points to a wider malaise. Marxist scholar Antonio Gramsci noted that Fascism arose in a society “where mothers educate their infant children by hitting them on the head with clogs.” How men behave — on the streets with women, with other men, with animals — is taught. In our society, violence is not an aberration; it is the tie that binds us.

In 2007, the Ministry of Women and Child Development surveyed 12,477 children to learn of their experience of abuse. 68.99 per cent of children, over half of them boys, reported suffering physical violence. One in 12 children, again a majority boys, reported suffering sexual violence. It is a staggering fact: half of all Indians have encountered abuse before they became adults.

For the overwhelming majority of Indian children, the education in violence begins in the family. The survey found 59 per cent of the 2,245 children who did not go to school located home as a source of violence. In institutions like orphanages, the survey recorded levels of violence very similar to homes. More than 65 per cent of the 3,163 school children surveyed said they received beatings along with classes in maths, science and languages. Employers of child labourers, interestingly, were significantly less cruel than teachers; 58.7 per cent of working children said they experienced beatings at home, at work, or both. In each of these categories, boys were overrepresented.

Maulana Azad Medical College researcher Deepti Pagare discovered, during a survey of boys at New Delhi’s Child Observation Home, that 76.7 per cent reported physical abuse. Half of them actually bore clinical evidence of violence — the perpetrators, in more than half of all cases, their own fathers.

Elsewhere in the world, figures like these would almost certainly have provoked a national scandal — followed by demands of criminal prosecutions. Look through Delhi’s crime statistics, though, and you will find not one father prosecuted for everyday crimes against his son.

India needs a masculinity that does not involve violence. Moral sermons, though, won’t cut it: respect for women can emerge only from a culture that genuinely values rights for all.

 

Rapist in the family: The great Indian cover-up #Vaw


CHILDRAPE

by Jan 10, 2013, Firstpost

“It is true, trust me,” says Bina Jain, as she recounts one of the many incest cases she encountered in three decades of running Bapun Ghar, a women’s shelter in central Delhi. “She is my fruit after all. So what if I tasted her?” was the justification the man gave to the gynecologist for impregnating his 16 year old daughter, says Jain.

Every year, she says, the shelter gets custody of roughly twenty girls and women abandoned by families. It is a grim reflection of the treatment given to rape victims who, in some cases, are described by the families as ‘dirty’ and ‘untouchable’.

Jain rattles off cases where the rapist is the father, brother, uncle, tutor, neighbour – men known to the victim. In more than 90 percent of the rape cases booked across the country, the perpetrators are men known to the victim, according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data.Lenient rape laws, pathetic policing, and politicians as rapists were discussed threadbare in the wake of the barbaric gangrape in the national capital past December. But the known devil, staring in the face of thousands of girls, was once again spared. And he always gets away with his crime as the girl is asked not to speak, for the family’s honour, for what the father owes her, for better future of her siblings, for the tradition of submission, for the sake of being an Indian girl.

The overall conviction rate in rape cases in 2011, as per NCRB, was an abysmal 26.4 percent. Soumya Bhaumik, legal consultant, Centre for Social Research, Delhi, says the pressure on the victim from her family is one of the primary reasons for the low conviction rate. “It is common in urban and rural settings. Therefore, it is extremely courageous when in such cases a girl testifies in court,” says Bhaumik, “As opposed to the cases when the family pressurises her or sweet talks her to withdraw the complaint.”

A girl in certain social set-ups in India does not have to go further than her home where an all-pervasive devaluing of the girl begins from the day she is born. “It begins with the news of the baby girl being born. Everything else follows. Throughout her upbringing, she is considered dispensable. This is why no one stands up to protect her when she is in trouble. Even the best of the people in the society follows this dominant trend,” says Akhila Sivadas, director, Centre for Advocacy & Research, Delhi.

As long as these dynamics will prevail, the victim will be expected to not only endure the crime but live in close proximity with the predator. The matter becomes a family secret. And the men in the garb of ‘family’ or ‘friend’ or ‘neighbour’ never feel guilty. In cases where the victims are firm about their decisions at the cost of ‘bringing shame to the family’, they face severe consequences. They are stigmatised. They are rejected. They are blamed for bringing disgrace to their families.

The decision whether to restore the victim to her family or not is often the biggest dilemma a practitioner of rehabilitation faces in such cases, says Dr Nimesh Desai, director, Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences, Delhi. “Ethically, we should bring the culprit to the book because we cannot become party to the cover- up. But there is always a hidden danger in convincing the victim to talk against the offender because ultimately the girl would go back the family and they might punish her for being courageous.”

There are various reasons why a rape victim in India cannot look for refuge outside the family. One is that fact that the very notion of a girl moving out of the home and thereby detaching herself from ‘relations’ has a negative connotation in the Indian milieu, writes Sudhir Kakar, novelist and psychoanalyst, in The Times of India. While Kakar is commenting on the women who have migrated to big cities to work or study, it applies just as well to rape victims.

Another problem faced by the victims of sexual abuse and rape in India is the lack of knowledge about governmental support or resources available for rape victims. “There is immense recognition of what she goes through, but no reactionary or proactive mechanism to address the causes of the same. We lack a coherent governance framework which can address the why and how of the problem,” says Sivadas.

For example, very few rape victims avail the compensation that they are entitled to from the state under the section 357A of the CrPC. Very few social welfare bodies are aware of the fact that the Centre has been delaying the implementation comprehensive rape victims’ relief scheme that was drafted following by the National Commission for Women following a Supreme Court writ petition in 1994. According to the draft of the scheme, a rape victim is entitled to financial support of upto Rs 3 lakh and vocational training, jobs from the government.

There are no easy answers to addressing a crime committed by a family member. And the answers that could have come to help aren’t out there known to people. There is no exposing of the great family cover- up anytime soon. And therefore continues a vicious cycle where the rape victim has no option other than to succumb to fate, tradition and family.

 

#India-Assault on women with disabilities draws focus #Vaw


By , TNN | Jan 7, 2013,

KOLKATA: Close on the heels of the alleged rape bid on a woman with disabilities at Thakurpukur in December last year, 25 organizations representing persons with disabilities have petitioned Justice J S Verma, the chairperson of the commission formed to suggest amendments to laws on safety of women, “over its limited terms of reference”. The panel was formed after the Nirbhaya case.

Among all the cases of assault on women with disabilities cited in the petition, a majority took place in Bengal.

“Girls and women with disabilities are more vulnerable to exploitation. They are considered soft targets, with the perpetrators assuming they can get away easily. In many cases, such women are unable to comprehend or communicate about such acts of violence. Some reports suggest they are up to three times more likely to be victims of abuse as compared to other women,” says the petition. Three Bengal organizations – Centre for Care of Tortured Victims, Paschim Banga Rajya Prathibandhi Sammelani and Sruti Disability Rights Centre – are part of the petition prepared by the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD).

“There are no consolidated figures on violence against women with disabilities. But the magnitude and scale of the attacks can be gauged by the fact that in 2012 alone there were

dozens of cases of sexual violence on women with disabilities were reported in the media from Bengal. Despite this, no attempt was made to map the magnitude of the problem. Neither the NCRB nor any other source has authentic figures,” says Muralidharan, NPRD assistant convener.

Several cases have been cited in the petition, with one case each from Chandigarh and Aurangabad and the rest from Bengal. It contains the testimony of a visual impaired girl at an event by Jadavpur University and Sruti Disability Rights Centre, who said: “I face sexual abuse regularly. I have to commute to college by public bus and need help in crossing roads and during bus rides where people take advantage of my condition. I can’t see, so identifying the molester is difficult. And others think he was just helping me board the bus. Who would believe me?”

Among the cases cited are the Bankura Medical College case, where a hearing-impaired girl was allegedly raped by a doctor in February 2012, the case of a national-level para-athlete who was allegedly raped by an auto driver in North Dinajpur in June 2012, and the Hooghly tragedy where a woman’s body was found buried at a home run by an NGO Dulal Smriti Samsad in July 2012.

The petition suggests several measures on compilation of data, support to victims, sensitization of police, monitoring of institutions and counselling and rehabilitation.

After a spate of attacks on women with disabilities, a team from the National Commission for Women visited Bengal in April 2012, and recommended that the requirements of persons with special needs have to be kept in mind by all police stations and medical establishments so that they are provided with support including services of interpreters, readers, professionals, psychologists and NGOs depending on the nature of the case. “A panel of experts for this purpose can be prepared for each district in consultation with the disabilities commissioner and the WCD department,” it said.

 

Danger is near: 99% victims in Tamil Nadu knew their rapists #Vaw


By , TNN | Jan 7, 2013,

Danger is near: 99% victims in Tamil Nadu knew their rapists
Of the 677 cases of rape reported in Tamil Nadu in 2011, 675 victims knew the perpetrators, according to govt data. Only two women were sexually assaulted by strangers.

CHENNAI: Women constantly face sexual harassment in public, but the gravest danger could be closer to home than they imagine.

This is particularly true of Tamil Nadu where, crime records reveal, more than 99% of victims of rape were acquainted with their assailants in some way. In many cases, the culprit was a family member, a close relative that the victim would normally have no reason to fear.

Of the 677 cases of rape reported in Tamil Nadu in 2011, 675 victims knew the perpetrators, according to statistics compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau. Only two women were sexually assaulted by strangers.

Chennai police registered 76 cases of rape in 2011, including 74 in which the victims knew their assailants.

Of the 675 accused in the state in 2011, 249 were neighbours of the victims, 96 were relatives, two were close family members, including parents, and 328 were “other known persons” and acquaintances.

The data for Tamil Nadu is reflective of nationwide figures – 93% of rape victims across the country knew the offenders – but also indicate that women in the state are more vulnerable to sexual assault by people they trust than anywhere else in the country.

In 24,206 cases of rape reported in the country in 2011, 22,549 of the offenders were family members, relatives, neighbours or friends of the victims.

Disturbingly, in the 677 cases recorded in the state in 2011, 45 victims were 10 years old or younger, 46 were between 10 and 14, and 181 were between 14 and 18. Most victims (365) were between 18 and 30, but as many as 272 were minors. Two victims were more than 50 years old.

“A private place, like a woman’s house, is now more dangerous than a public place,” said Prasanna Poornachandran, CEO of International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care. “The high incidence of sexual abuse by acquaintances and relatives is primarily because of a lack of awareness.”

“Girls do not suspect family members or relatives and many victims are afraid to tell someone when they are first assaulted, leading to repeated abuse,” he said. “Women should be aware of the threat and be advised to protect their daughters and teach them how to protect themselves.”

A senior police officer said there has been a marked increase in sexual abuse by family members in Tamil Nadu. “But women are also filing more cases against close relatives because awareness programmes have emboldened them to lodge police complaints,” he said.

All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) national secretary U Vasuki said there should be more stringent rules to curb sexual harassment in educational institutions and workplaces. “How do you stop sexual abuse in the privacy of a family’s residence? The state should be more proactive about educating girls and women about the dangers they face and their right to bring charges against offenders.”

#India- Why subsidise the rape capital? #Vaw


Garga Chatterjee | Agency: DNA | Sunday, December 23, 2012

There should be no doubt at this point — Delhi is the rape capital of South Asia. No amount of regular manicuring of Lutyens lawns and NewDelhi-Gurgaon-style faux ‘cosmopolitanism’ can take away that fact. The rape capital epithet comes from simple numbers. Delhi is comparable in population size to Kolkata and Mumbai. If rape were to be considered a ‘natural’ human pathology, the number of rapes would be proportional to the number of humans. The thing is, when it comes to cities within the territory of the Indian Union, it is not.

The numbers speak for themselves. Let us take the National Crime Records Bureau figures for 2011. The number of registered cases of rape were as follows — Mumbai (221), Kolkata (46), Chennai (76), Bangalore (97) and Hyderabad (59). If one adds them up, the number comes to 499. Add Lucknow (38), Patna (27) and Coimbatore (9). The total comes to 573. This is one more than 572, the number of rapes reported in Delhi in 2011. This is not to say that the 46 rapes in Kolkata are somehow ‘normal’. But number and scale matters. There is clearly something wrong about Delhi and we can ignore that at our own peril.

From bus drivers to poor male labourers, the middle-class/upper-middle-class of Delhi has willy-nilly implicated all but itself. It is important to note the nature of prescriptions of rape prevention. These include profiling people who drive buses and the sort — a veiled reference to some imagined class bias in rapes. That gives away the underlying assumption — poor men rape not-so-poor women. There is no evidence to show that this is indeed the case, but the high decibel propaganda war in the elite-controlled media could care less about evidence, especially when it imagines itself to be the victim, as a class.

Rape is as much about power and impunity as it is about sexual violence. Nowhere in the subcontinent are power and impunity engaged in an embrace as tightly as they are in Delhi. There is empirical evidence from various parts of the world that affluent people are more likely to rape with impunity than those less so. Nowhere in the subcontinent is affluence so closely related with power than in Delhi. What are the implications of this for the rest of us?

Since 1990 and especially so in the previous decade, the central government has built up Delhi, showering it with goods, subsidies and helping make it an employment destination for the rest of the Indian Union. Other cities haven’t received this help — cities where women are less likely to be raped. Delhi and its surrounds are showered with money that Delhi does not produce. It is peppered with infrastructure that India’s provinces have toiled hard to pay for.

It is lavished with highly funded universities, art and cultural centres, museums that are designed to sap talent from India’s provinces and handicap the development of autonomous trajectories of excellence beyond Delhi. Revenues extracted from India’s provinces are lavished in and around Delhi by making good roads, snazzy flyovers, water supply infrastructure, urban beautification projects, new institutes and universities, big budget rapid transport systems like the metro and numerous other things that India’s impoverished wastelands as well as other towns and cities can only dream of.

All this results in investment and employment opportunities — it is not the other way around. Most people from other states are in Delhi not because they necessarily love it, but because the artificial imbalance that central policies have created between Delhi and other cities makes this an inevitable aspiration destination. This has resulted in a staggering internal drain of young people to Delhi — not by choice as in the case of Mumbai, but largely by braving potential adversities for women.

The elite of Delhi and the regional elites who wish to see their children in Delhi in perpetuity have, by dint of their grip on the central government, made a ‘world-class city’ for themselves. By choosing to do this at a location where power, impunity and rape-rates are the highest among cities, it has conspired against the rest of the Union, specifically against women.

Women should not have to choose between a lesser likelihood of being raped and creating a better life from themselves. The inordinate subsidisation of the rape capital by the central government has to stop. Women then will not have to come to Delhi to further their aspirations and dreams. They can then choose to boycott Delhi and still have a life that they aspire to. This requires a cutting down to size of the imperious rape capital. Cutting down to size should not raise eyebrows in a nation-state that vows by democracy. It is called distributive justice.

Garga Chatterjee is a postdoctoral scholar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

#Shame #India- rape will go on- #delhigangrape #Vaw #Torture


TEHELKA INVESTIGATION: The rapes will go on

G Vishnu , Tehelka

Abhishek Bhalla

December 19, 2012, Issue 15 Volume 9

In a two-week long investigation, Abhishek Bhalla and G Vishnu spoke to more than 30 senior cops in the Delhi-NCR region. More than half had shockingly ugly views on rape victims. This is the face of law exposed. How can the system effect justice through men like these?

She asked for it.
It’s all about money.
They have made it a business.
It is consensual most of the time.

Illustration: Anand NaoremIllustration: Anand Naorem

THIS IS how policemen — keepers of the law and protectors of innocent — view rape in the Delhi– National Capital Region (NCR). Although generalising is fraught with hazards, this is one generalisation that can be made. There’s evidence to support this.

A month ago, the outrageous apathy of our police towards rape victims was in full display when the Noida Police revealed the identity of a minor girl who was brutally gang-raped in a moving car. If that was not enough, the Noida Superintendent of Police cast aspersions on the girl’s character at a press conference. Besides the fact that, by doing so, the police flagrantly violated the law of the land — Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code defines the disclosure of the identity of rape victims as an offence punishable by up to two years of imprisonment — it also gave a peek into the minds of the police and how they see the raped and the rapist.
Often been called the rape capital of India, the Delhi-NCR region has thrown up numerous such instances of police apathy in rape cases. When asked to explain the rising instances of rape, the cops have invariably blamed the women, an array of extraneous factors or resorted to specious arguments instead of looking inwards and focussing on police reforms. The most disturbing aspect of this is the rank misogyny that underlies it.A few weeks later, the Gurgaon Police outraged civil society by proposing a blanket curfew on working women in the city after 8 pm without prior permission from the Labour Department. This was the first reaction by the police after the report of a brutal gang-rape of a pub employee by six men. The police made no statement about the rapists. Later, however, the police put out a statement asserting they had been misquoted by the media.

Here is a quick reckoner. In 2010, as many as 414 rape cases were reported in Delhi, the highest among 35 major cities in the country. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the conviction rate in rape cases in the capital was a dismal 34.6 percent. In case after case, courts have been acquitting the accused because of flawed first information reports (FIRs), erroneous procedures in collating medical evidence and shoddy investigation. Lawyers and women rights activists have continually been flagging the deep prejudice prevalent in the police against women in general and rape victims in particular, as the single biggest reason for the repeated failure of justice.

But instead of addressing core issues like poor conviction rates, under-reporting of rape cases by victims (studies indicate that for every reported case of rape, more than 50 go unreported), the lack of faith between the victim and the police and the insensitivity of the police personnel towards women, our police and ministers want to ban late-night work shifts or keep women away from unconventional jobs like bartenders.

Sunil Kumar  SHO, Ghazipur, Delhi-NCRSunil Kumar SHO, Ghazipur, Delhi-NCR

THE FARCE
Sunil Kumar 

SHO, Ghazipur, Delhi-NCR

‘Go to a pub in Greater Kailash, South Delhi, where there’s free entry for girls. You’ll find those who want to do ‘it’ for a thousand rupees. They’ll drink and also have sex with you. But the day someone uses force, it’s rape’

Rajan Bhagat Additional DCP PRO, Delhi PoliceRajan Bhagat Additional DCP PRO, Delhi Police

THE FACE
‘There is sensitisation at the induction level as well as specialised courses on the job. The objective is to handle women in crisis. In these courses, officers are apprised with latest court orders’

Rajan Bhagat
Additional DCP PRO, Delhi Police

HAVE WE created a system that instills fear in the heart of offenders, promotes deterrence and ensures that offenders get exemplary punishment? While we may have excellent statutes to deal with crimes against women, do we also have the police machinery to implement the law in its letter and spirit? Are police stations of the NCR being manned by professional and efficient police officers who can deliver justice to hapless women turning up at their doors?

TEHELKA decided to investigate the conduct and approach of Station House Officers (SHOs) and their deputies who are in charge of police stations in the NCR. These cops are the first point of contact for any victim of sexual assault when they have to lodge a complaint. The objective was to find out if there was any latent bias among the police personnel towards rape victims.

In a two-week long investigation, TEHELKA undercover reporters posing as research scholars, visited 23 stations across the NCR and spoke to more than 30 policemen with experience of 20-30 years. The reporters did not make misogynistic comments or incite the policemen to say or do something they wouldn’t have otherwise said or done. The line of inquiry was to be completely neutral and non-partisan. And what we came back with was shocking.

Our two week long investigation reveals that the NCR, which houses some of the leading industries from around the world and where lakhs of women work alongside men, is policed by the cops with a 19th century mindset.

Every time a rape accused gets away due to shoddy investigations, it reinforces the cops’ belief: she had asked for it

Seventeen senior cops of over a dozen police stations across Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad were caught on spy camera blaming everything from fashionable or revealing clothes to having boyfriends to visiting pubs to consuming alcohol to working alongside men as the main reasons for instances of rape. ‘It’s always the woman who is at fault’ was in essence the argument offered by a majority of the cops. Many of them believe that genuine rape victims never approach the police and those who do are basically extortionists or have loose moral values. Others believe that the women from Northeast could never be victims of forced sex as they are invariably involved in the flesh trade. Even more shockingly, some of them are of the view that if a woman has consensual sex with one man, then she shouldn’t complain if his friends also join in. If a woman is doing late hours at the office then she had it coming… and the arguments keep coming.

IF THE police personnel are to be believed, everything from co-education to migration to cities to being independent and assertive and holding unconventional jobs are reasons for the rise in rape incidents across NCR. So mind-numbing are these admissions that one cannot help but wonder about the plight of the rape victims in mofussil towns and villages if the police in and around the capital is so deeply prejudiced. The TEHELKA expose warrants an urgent soul-searching at the highest levels of the police administration and demands immediate corrective steps in the police training and investigation.

Sample what Sunil Kumar, SHO, Ghazipur, East Delhi, had to say. “Go to a pub in South Delhi. Go to Greater Kailash where there is free entry for girls. Jinhone 1,000 rupaiye mein wo karna hai wo wahan jati hain. Daru bhi peeti hai aur aap ke saath sex bhi karti hai… Jis din koi thok dega rape ho jayega. (In these places you’ll find girls who want to do ‘it’ for Rs 1,000. They will drink and also have sex with you. The day somebody uses force, it becomes rape).”

THE FARCE Rajpal Yadav Add’l SHO, Sector 29, Gurgaon  ‘Girls from Darjeeling and Nepal have come here for business purposes. They go with men for money, but if the money isn’t enough, it becomes rape’THE FARCE: Rajpal Yadav Add’l SHO, Sector 29, Gurgaon ‘Girls from Darjeeling and Nepal have come here for business purposes. They go with men for money, but if the money isn’t enough, it becomes rape’

Sub-Inspector Arjun Singh, SHO Surajpur Police Station, Greater Noida, also pins the blame on the victim. “Ladkiya ek seemit daire main, seemit kapdon main nahi niklengi… to apne aap khichaon ho jata hai.Wo khichaon bhi aggressive kar deta hai ki kar do bas (If girls don’t stay within their boundaries, if they don’t wear appropriate clothes, then naturally there is attraction. This attraction makes men aggressive, prompting them to just do it).”

There’s also ethnic bias against those from the Northeast. Try RajpalYadav, Additional SHO of Sector 29, Gurgaon: “Yahan pe Darjeeling aur Nepal tak ki ladkiyan business purpose se aye hai… wo jaate bhade pe hain. Baad mein paisa nahi mila to rape case bata diya jata hai (Girls from Darjeeling and Nepal have come here for business purposes. They go with men for money. Later, when the money is not sufficient, it becomes a rape).”

In the two-week long investigation, TEHELKA undercover reporters visited five police stations in Gurgaon, six in Noida, four in Ghaziabad, two in Faridabad and six in Delhi. Out of the 30 policemen TEHELKA spoke to, 17 were extremely prejudiced, misogynist and shockingly insensitive towards rape victims. Five scored well on the enlightenment card.

DESPITE THE Noida Police facing flak for lewd comments about the victim and her family, Ram Kumar Malik, the investigating officer for the case of the girl raped by Class X students is unrepentant. TEHELKA captured Sub-Inspector Malik on camera brazenly pinning the blame yet again on the victim alone: “Is case mein jo real baat hai, ladki vodka peene ki habitual hai. Usne vodka party mangi, Rs 6,000 mein book ho gai. Physical relation ke liye 6,000 mange. Baad mein mukadma likha diya. Yeh real baat hai. Mere pass uske CDR call detail ka record hai; unka purana relation hai (The real issue here is that the girl is a habitual vodka drinker and had asked for a vodka party. She then demanded Rs 6,000 for sex. When the money wasn’t paid, she registered a rape complaint. I have her call records that establish she had a relationship with one of the accused).” Pointless to ask him how having a consensual relationship with one boy could warrant a girl being raped by 4 other boys.

Malik then turns his guns on the family and character of the girl: “Is ladki ki ma ka pehle hi divorce ho gaya. Aur wo ek Yadavji ke saath beth gayi. Uski umar 48 hai, admi 28 saal ka. Saath mein do ladkiyan. Behekna to tei ho gaya. Nahi ho gaya? (The girl’s mother is divorced. She’s living with another man from the Yadav community. She’s 48 whereas the man is 28. It’s inevitable the two daughters will be wayward, isn’t it?)

“Ab jab 48 saal ki ma, 28 saal ke purush ke saath so rahi hai, do jawan ladkiyan dekh rahi hain, unko bhi zaroorat hogi. Sex is like hunger,” he continues. (Now when two young girls watch their 48-year-old mother sleeping with a 28-year-old man, even they’ll be aroused. Sex is like hunger).”

Blaming the victim, however, is not limited to Malik. The attitude was generic and TEHELKA found many more subscribers in the system.

Digest what Jangsher Singh, SHO of the DLF Phase-2 Police Station, who is investigating the recent rape case of the 23-year-old pub worker, says:“Isme kuch nahi hai. Chote chote bacche the… Do baar ladki ne baat ki ladkon se. Compromise karna hai toh compromise karlo. Ladki ne khud bol diya… money toh hai hi yaar. Money ke saath sauda kiya jaata hai (This case is nothing. They were young kids. The girl spoke twice to the boys about striking a ‘compromise’. It’s all about money. It’s only with money deals are stuck).”

Jangsher makes it plain there was more than a hint of consensual sex in the Gurgaon gang-rape: “Cooperation hai. Bahut kam hai main manta hoon; one ya two percent jisme nahi hota…Consent main hi hua yeh (The girls cooperate. I believe it’s very rare that there will be no cooperation… This case too had the girl’s consent).”

Ram Kumar Malik Sub-Inspector and Investigating officer of a rape case in Noida PoliceRam Kumar Malik, Sub-Inspector and Investigating officer of a rape case in Noida Police

THE FARCE
Ram Kumar Malik

Sub-Inspector and Investigating officer of a rape case in Noida Police

‘When two young girls see their 48-year-old divorced mother sleeping with a 28-year-old man, they’ll go wayward only. Even they’ll be aroused’

KK Sindhu Police Commissioner, GurgaonKK Sindhu Police Commissioner, Gurgaon

THE FACE
‘Gender sensitivity is part of training and in cases involving women, the issue is always handled by a female officer. In any case, women victims come to us with male family members’

KK Sindhu
Police Commissioner, Gurgaon

DISTURBINGLY, IN an endlessly frightening reiteration, the Gurgaon gang-rape case appears in the conversation of the Gurgaon Police only as a leitmotif of the girl’s culpability. TEHELKA captured conversations with the SHO as well as the additional SHO of Sector-29 Police Station, who otherwise have nothing to do with the ongoing investigation. Commenting on the girl’s character, SHO Jagdish Prasad said: “In the recent DLF case, the girl is 27-years-old, the boys are 18 to 20-years-old. They are kids. She was dancing with these kids in the bar… I am telling you she induced them… The girl came and gave her phone number to them.”

The big question that comes out of this is: if the police in the Delhi metropolitan area — with its exposure to modern idioms and supposed sensitivity to individual rights — nurtures such a mindset, what about the average cop in the hinterland? The thought is terrifying: is rape India’s most under-reported crime? Does anybody seriously believe that less than 25,000 women get raped in India each year?

The explanation for gang-rapes is bizarre. She must have been friendly with at least one of the rapists, goes the refrain

The officers TEHELKA encountered do not fulfil the basic standards of policing, which requires officers to investigate a case without any cultural, class or gender bias. Rather, the contrary seems true. Empathy for a rape victim seems an impossible ask. But in its place, there isn’t even neutrality. Everywhere, the dominant belief was that the woman was in the wrong and had invited assault upon herself. TEHELKA’s investigation, then, is not about individual viewpoints. It reveals a damagingly contorted psyche.

CAN YOU dress for rape? A great number of policemen believe that what a woman wears is one of the reasons for rape. A conservatively dressed woman is safe, but if her clothes are “suggestive”, then she’s asking for it. This is the norm.

Agar koi bhi bacche ko kisi ladki ka shareer kapdon ke andar se dikhega to usme uttejna paida hogi…Ladkiya jo hai unko yahan tak yahan tak (he gestures to mean that women should cover their entire body, then carries on speaking)… Skirt pehenti hai. Blouse dalti hai; poora nahi dalti hai. Dupatta nahi dalti. Apne aapko dikhawa karti hai. Baccha uske taraf akarshit hota hai (If a girl is wearing transparent clothes it will encourage lewd thoughts in any kid. Girls wear short skirts. They wear a blouse that leaves nothing to the imagination. They don’t wear dupattas. They flaunt their bodies. The kid naturally gets attracted to her),” says Satbir Singh, Additional SHO of Sector 31 Police Station, Faridabad.

Making a general sociological observation, Sub-Inspector Arjun Singh, SHO of Surajpur Police Station, Greater Noida, also said: “Yeh (girl) itne kapde pehni hui hai; wo isiliye taaki log “mujhse akarshit ho aur mere saath kuch na kuch kare”. Isiliye ho jaati hai(She is dressed in a manner that people get attracted to her. In fact, she wants them to do something to her.)”

DO RAPES really happen? Many policemen are not even sure. Recognition of a crime as heinous as rape is something the police in the NCR do not appear to have come to terms with. Policeman after policeman insisted “real rape” cases were rare.

TEHELKA asked Yogender Singh Tomar, Additional SHO, Sector 39, Noida, if it was easy for a rape victim to approach the police. His answer left us shocked: “Aasaan nahi hota uske liye. Bezzati se sabhi darti hai. Akhbaar baazi se bhi darti hai. Asliyat main wahin aati hai jo dhande main lipt hoti hai (It’s never easy for the victim. Everyone is scared of humiliation. Everyone’s wary of media and society. In reality, the ones who complain are only those who have turned rape into a business).”

Sub-Inspector Roop Lal of Sector 40, Gurgaon, goes to the extent of making a distinction between a genuine and a fake rape. “Main rape cases, only 10 percent. Bilkul jo zabardasti rape hota hai, 10 percent. Baaki ke toh… (Only 10 percent of rape cases actually involve force; only 10 percent are genuine. The rest is…).” He leaves his sentence incomplete. It’s not difficult to understand what he wanted to say.

Roop Lal’s crudity is mirrored by other fellow officers. Two senior cops, Rajender Singh, Additional SHO of Old Faridabad Police Station, and Ramesh Kumar, senior sub inspector, are convinced rape cases generally involve consensual sex: “Hote hain par 70 percent aise hain, ki pehle sehmati ho gayi. Uske baad kisi ne dekh liya ya, usne paise dene se mana kar diya, toh woh balatkar ho gaya (There are cases but 70 percent involve consensual sex. Only if someone sees, or the money is denied, it gets turned into rape).”

From the point of view of cops, this begs the question: do rapes really happen? Again, bewildering as it may sound, 17 of the 30 policemen were convinced they rarely do.

Consider young Sub-Inspector Manoj Rawat of Noida’s Sector 24 Police Station.

Kya NCR mein rape hote hain? Akhbar mein nahi, fact pe aa jao. NCR mein har cheez mutual understanding se hoti hai. Mera personal view, one ya two percent NCR mein rape hote hain… Apas ki understanding hai, nahi ban paya, jahan 2 tha, wahan 3 ho gaye (Are there any rapes in NCR? Go by facts and not by what newspapers say. Everything in NCR happens with mutual understanding. My personal view is that there are one or two percent rape cases in NCR. If the understanding falls through, the exaggeration begins. Two becomes three).”

When it comes to gang-rapes, the explanation is even more bizarre. While the policemen admit that force is used, again the blame is pinned on the victim. She must have been friendly with at least one of the perpetrators goes the refrain.

Dharamveer Singh, Additional SHO at Indirapuram Police Station in Ghaziabad, said: “Bahut kum, minimum hota hai. Rare hota hai ki ek ladki ko 10 ladke zabardasti pakad le… car mein bhi koi innocent ladki nahi gayi hai. Wahi gayi jo kisi ladke ke saath sambandhit zaroor hai (It’s very rare that a girl is forcefully picked up by 10 boys. A girl who gets into a car with boys is never innocent. If she does, she definitely has a relationship with at least one of them).”

There is a sweeping consensus in listing ‘indecent’ clothing as a primary cause for rape, followed closely by ‘behaviour’

Roop Lal of Sector 40, Gurgaon, sought to find a rationale to the occurrence of gang-rape: “Jaise hum log baithe hai, zyaada daaru pee li. Chalte peeli. Behnchodh, phekh saala, phir to aise hi hoga. Raat bhar rakh li. Uska jawab kya degi wo apne gharwalon ko, ki jo ek ghante ke liye keh kar gayi hai, aur poori night main kahan gayi thi. To maa-baap to poochenge, bhai bhi poochega. Jinka samaaj hai woh to poochte hai (Say we are sitting and had one drink too many while on the move… it’s obvious that it’ll happen. Keep her for the entire night. What will she tell her parents? She was supposed to be away for an hour and has ended up being out the entire night. Parents will question, so will her brother. Society will ask questions.”

RK Sisodia, Additional SHO of Sector 20 Noida Police Station, had an entirely different opinion on the authenticity of rape cases. He was the only one to say that very few rape cases in NCR are false or questionable in nature. It was almost a surprise to hear him.

SEVERAL POLICE officers believe it’s a woman’s behaviour that is a prime reason and if it were not for “provocation” from her end, rapes wouldn’t happen.

When asked about sensitisation in the police, Inspector Sunil Kumar of Delhi Police shrugged away the query, saying rape is anyway the girl’s fault, particularly if she is a ‘Delhi girl’: “If a girl living in Delhi doesn’t want this trauma she will not encourage it. Suppose you are two people and I am a girl dating you both. I am flirting with one person and ignoring you, then after I see you jealous, I come to you. Then one day when he (the other person) is drunk, he might come with two-three friends and ask me to join him. I will then go with him with my wish. In a fit of vindictiveness, he will try to have sex with me, with or without my wish. But first, it is my fault because I courted disaster. No rape can happen in Delhi without the girl’s provocation.

Kumar had painted a scenario a script writer of a soap opera would find hard to concoct. Yet he believed — absolutely believed — this was everyday reality in large sections of Delhi society. Indeed, it appears as though there is almost a sweeping consensus in listing a woman’s “indecent” clothing as a primary cause for rape, followed closely by her “behaviour”, ranging from what they deemed promiscuous to just plain assertiveness. It’s almost as if a woman wearing a sari or a salwar kameez is never raped – though empirical evidence clearly suggests otherwise.

Sub-Inspector Roop Lal in Gurgaon even asked if women didn’t have a mind of their own. He explained his hypothesis: “Birthday ke sambandh main party do… aur woh akeli ladki hai, un teeno ke saath jaa rahi hai, aur dekh rahi hai ki saale daaru bhi pee rahe hai saath main. To yeh bilkul ladies ko pata hai is baat ka, ki kya hoga. Jab wo khud hi party karne lagi hai, to wo rape nahi keh sakte. Rape kaise kahoge? Daaru ke sang unke saath baith rahi hai… to dimag to tere main bhi hai, jab tu chatra hai kisliye party mang rahi hai, kisliye inke saath jaa rahi hai? (If a girl asks for a birthday party and is alone with 2-3 boys and sees they are drinking, she knows what is likely to happen. When she herself goes for such a party, she can’t complain of rape. How can you call it rape if she is sitting and drinking with them? You are a student and have brain of your own. Why are you going out with them?)”

IT’S ALL about money.” If this is not enough to shock you, a majority of the policemen said rape is used as a blackmailing tool to extort money. More than 17 officers spoke about a supposedly dirty nexus of money, mal-intent, compromises and sex.

Arjun Singh SHO, Surajpur Police Station, Greater NoidaArjun Singh, SHO, Surajpur Police Station, Greater Noida

THE FARCE
Arjun Singh
SHO, Surajpur Police Station, Greater Noida

‘If girls don’t stay within their boundaries, if they don’t wear appropriate clothes, then naturally there is attraction. This attraction makes men aggressive, prompting them to just do it (rape)’

Praveen kumar SSP, NoidaPraveen Kumar, SSP, Noida

THE FACE
‘Although a module on gender issues for new recruits exists, there are no training programmes. Public-police ratio has to increase only then can we spare them for courses in gender sensitivity’


Praveen kumar SSP, Noida

Satbir Singh, Additional SHO of Sector 31 Police Station, Faridabad has completed 27 years in service and investigated around 20 rape cases. He believes half of all rape charges were false. He was unapologetic about questioning the intent of rape victims when they came to file complaints: “One lakh. Two lakh. Fifty lakh. Logon ko ye pata chal gaya hai ki ye achcha paisa kamaane ka dhanda hai… business hai. Income source dhoond liya hai logon ne. Aam baat hai… kharcha nahi hota. Money nahi hote.Gharwale kharch ke liye paise nahi dete.Wo phir razabandi se kaam chalta hai(People have understood this is a lucrative trade for women; it’s business. They’ve found an income source. It’s common; you’re short of money, your parents don’t give you money to spend. You make compromises).”

THE FARCE Satbir Singh Add’l SHO, Sector-31 Police Station, Faridabad  ‘If a girl wears revealing clothes, it will encourage lewd thoughts in any kid. They wear short skirts, blouse, they don’t wear dupattas, they flaunt their bodies. The kid naturally will get attracted to her’THE FARCE Satbir Singh Add’l SHO, Sector-31 Police Station, Faridabad ‘If a girl wears revealing clothes, it will encourage lewd thoughts in any kid. They wear short skirts, blouse, they don’t wear dupattas, they flaunt their bodies. The kid naturally will get attracted to her’

Vijay Kumar, a young sub-inspector working under Satbir Singh, also shares similar views. Amazingly, so does Rajbala, a young lady investigating officer at the station. “90 percent to aise hi hote hai…” she said, as SHO Satbir talks about money being the biggest factor behind rape cases.

Sector 29 Police Station, as it’s SHO Jagdish Prasad points out, registered 10 rape cases from 2005-2010. Conviction happened in two of them. Here too, it’s troubling to see two young, 20-something English-speaking Sub-Inspectors, Naveen and Vipin, have deep prejudices against independent women. “It’s all for enjoyment,” said Vipin at one point, supporting his senior’s argument.

This kind of gender stereotyping is not limited to the outskirts of the NCR. In the heart of Delhi, Inspector Sunil Kumar, SHO of Ghazipur Police Station was similarly judgmental: “Someone will say I will give you Rs 1,000 or Rs 2,000 but afterwards they give Rs 500. Then it becomes rape. And no one in the world will listen to me. I might say she asked for Rs 1,000, I gave Rs 500. But our law says very clearly — if a girl says she was raped then she was raped. No excuses there. It is final.” His tone was sympathetic — to the person charged with rape.

Apart from a general suspicion towards any woman who complains of rape, the class bias was unmistakable in several stations — the argument being insensitive enough to be seen as condoning the act. Rape victims from poor backgrounds are looking for money, and the ones from affluent families are simply wayward and easy: it’s all so neat.

Oonche gharon ki ladkiyan hain; jinke saath setting hoti hai uske saath chali jati hai, 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 rupiyo ke liye (These girls are from affluent families; they go with anyone who they have a setting with for money),” said Additional Sub-Inspector Vikas Kumar of Sector 29 Police Station in Gurgaon. His colleague and Additional SHO of the station, Rajpal Yadav also had his reasoning for rape cases involving women from affluent classes; “Sharaab bhi peeti hain ladkiyan… log fayda toh uthainge hi. Hookah bar, smack, ganja, nasha, tambakoo (These girls tend to drink… people will naturally take advantage. They do everything from hookah bars to smack to ganja and tobacco).”

When it comes to victims from economically backward families, the comments get cruder. For instance, Yoginder Singh Tomar of Noida believed rapes happened only among lower castes and lower classes: “Upper caste toh nahi aati. Upper caste ki to mukkadma hi darj nahi hota. Aata hi nahi koi. Hota hi nahi hai. Ab hota hoga toh humaare paas nahi aa rahe hai (Upper caste people never file rape complaints. Rape never happens there. If it happens, it never comes to us).”

THE BAGGAGE of cultural prejudice a policeman carries to the police station is not only unprofessional but also dangerous as it ensures a bias from the very onset of an investigation. This invariably leads to loopholes in the probe and becomes a road-block in deliverance of justice. If investigators are to be believed, their experience of rape cases has given them an understanding that everything from co-education to alcohol, films and comfortable relationships are prime reasons for rape.

Yahan log bahar se aaye hain… Filmon main dekh rahe hai. Bilkul nangapan saa aagaya hai yahan par. Filmon ko dekh kar yeh sab ho raha hai; nashe ki aadat pad gayi hai. Bahar se aye hue hain woh apne culture koh jo Indian culture hai usko chhod rahe hain (People have come from outside. They watch films and get influenced. There is complete nudity; people have taken to alcohol. Also, outsiders, from outside NCR, have forgotten Indian culture),” is Sub-Inspector Rajpal Yadav’s rationale for rapes.

How can such a police force discharge its constitutional duty of prosecuting sex offenders successfully?

HOWEVER, IN Delhi, TEHELKA found that of the six stations it visited, three had police officers who were professional and sensitised towards cases of violence against women. Additional SHO, Inspector Thakeshwar Singh of Sangam Vihar Police Station, pointed out there were compromises between the victim’s side and the perpetrator’s side but not necessarily due to money: “There’s social stigma attached to a rape victim, making it difficult for her to tirelessly pursue the case.”

THE FARCE Yogender Singh Tomar  Add’l SHO, Sector 39 Police Station, Noida  ‘It’s never easy for the victim. Everyone is scared of humiliation. Everyone’s wary of media and society. In reality, the ones who complain are those who have made rape a business’  THE FARCE Yogender Singh Tomar Add’l SHO, Sector 39 Police Station, Noida ‘It’s never easy for the victim. Everyone is scared of humiliation. Everyone’s wary of media and society. In reality, the ones who complain are those who have made rape a business’

The Delhi Police insists it has a gender sensitivity programme in place. There is a rape crisis intervention centre in every district and a women’s help desk in every police station. “There is sensitisation at the induction level as well as promotional and specialised courses on the job. The objective is to handle women in crisis. In these courses officers are apprised with latest court orders,” said Additional DCP Rajan Bhagat, PRO Delhi Police.

Yet inside these police stations and behind those nice-sounding phrases is a much harsher reality. The lack of training and sensitisation is evident. Praveen Kumar, SSP Noida, felt there was need for sensitisation at the working level. “Although there is a module on gender issues for new recruits, there are no training programmes for people in service. There is training at the induction level but not at short intervals since there is shortage of manpower. If those policemen are sent for training who would man the police posts? Public-police ratio has to increase only then can we spare them for courses in gender sensitivity,” he said.

However, Commissioner of Police, Gurgaon, KK Sindhu felt there was no real need for sensitisation as all cases related to women were handled by ladies. The Gurgaon Police chief was of the opinion that women were usually accompanied by men if they had to visit a police station. “Women are inseparable from family in an Indian set-up. There is always a male accompanying them to a police station. Gender sensitivity is part of training and, in cases involving women, the issue is always handled by a woman investigating officer.”

GIVEN THAT these extremely disturbing attitudes exist in agencies that are meant for the protection of harassed women, it comes as little surprise that rapes continue unabated. Six rape cases were reported from different parts of the NCR during the two weeks TEHELKA reporters were out in the field meeting policemen. While the men in uniform have a spectrum of reasons to rationalise rise in rape occurrence, there is little acknowledgment of the fact that perhaps better policing and instilling a fear of the law among the perpetrators could make women feel that much safer.

This prejudice breeds a vicious cycle. It makes investigation slothful and lackadaisical and as a result the conviction rate in rape cases is appallingly low. This, in turn, allows potential sex criminals to get away with anything, even an open-and-shut case of rape. And each time this happens, to the average policeman it only reinforces what he thinks he already knows: “She asked for it.”

Abhishek Bhalla is a Senior Special Correspondent with Tehelka.
abhishek.bhalla@tehelka.com

G Vishnu is a Correspondent with Tehelka.

 

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