“There is no chance of the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on one wing.”
– Swami Vivekanand
These words of wisdom by Swami Vivekanand still reverberate across the country. Even after 70 years of independence, as our women struggle to find space in our society let alone safety, an incident took place in Rohtak, Haryana that threatens to redefine the word brutality.
A 23 year old woman was gang raped and brutally killed and her body was found in Rohtak just 70 km away from Delhi. The incident was so brutal that it is being compared with the Nirbhaya gang rape case that shook the nation in 2012. The victim’s body in an attempt to make it impossible to identify, was smashed with bricks repeatedly and then run over by a car before being abandoned in an open field by the attackers. The body was found by the police when the dogs were in the midst of eating the remaining corpse.
Imagine being the victim’s parents and having to bear these facts.
The young woman was kidnapped by his jilted lover along with his relatives from Sonipat and was taken to Rohtak where they drugged her, raped her and finally killed her. When the victim said that she would complain, her skull was hammered in with bricks.
It is shocking to see that such barbaric incident took place just days after the SC verdict in the Nirbhaya case awarding capital punishment to her attackers which was being seen as a step that would act as deterrent against such incidents. In what can be seen as a total disregard of both law and women, just a couple of days after this horrific incident, a 26 year old single mother of a six year old hailing from Sikkim, who was coming home after a movie, was gang raped by three men in a moving car on the streets of Gurugram and then was later abandoned in Delhi. These chilling incidents are sure to shake up every single fragment of one’s bones.
More than 34,000 of rape cases were reported in 2015 alone.
The real numbers are sure to be much higher than the reported as rape happens to be a severely under-reported crime due to the social stigma which surrounds it. The main problem is that the structures in India continue to restrict women’s autonomy especially sexual autonomy, often in the name of religion and culture.
The same year also saw a staggering 1.3 lakh sexual offences reported which included rape; attempt to commit rape, assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty and insult to modesty of women.
The increase in crimes against women every year is alarming. Be it the rise in the amount of cases of rape, dowry deaths or human trafficking, it is pretty apparent that Women Safety in India still remains a far cry.
Both the Judiciary and the Executive are equally culpable for this situation which has led to many in sections of foreign media to label India and especially Delhi as the “rape capital.” The government led by various political parties since Independence have failed in massive proportions as far as women safety is concerned. There has been a notable increase in government schemes to improve women safety since December 2012 but to little effect.
The NDA government’s “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” is a praiseworthy move which has seen a notable improvement in the sex ratio in Haryana where the ratio was skewed in favour of men. But without ensuring safety of women such schemes won’t have any ripple effect.
An agitated mother of the Rohtak gang rape victim was quoted “The government wants us to promote the cause of daughters and educate them, but to avoid such pain and barbaric acts; I believe we should not have daughters.”
One can only imagine how much hurt and pain the victim’s parents would be going through. The mother which was understandably agitated and heartbroken brought up a disturbing point. If such incidents continue, there might be an increase in number of cases where the girl child is abandoned, something we, as a country, cannot afford.
The judiciary delivered a landmark verdict on the Nirbhaya case but it came almost 5 years after the incident took place. Such a long period of waiting threatens to break every last bit of hope the citizen has from the judiciary. It’s rightly said that justice delayed is justice denied.
The victim’s family of the Rohtak gang rape incident had filed a police complaint against the mastermind of the attack, a month before the attack on charges of harassing their daughter but their complaints only fell on deaf ears. However SP Shenvi denied the charges and said there was only a verbal complaint and both the parties had settled the matter outside. It is paramount to have written complaints in such cases and the police to prevent any “outside settlement.” Only if both the parents and the police had been more careful maybe just maybe this incident could have been avoided.
The strictest and the harshest actions must be taken against the rapists coupled with the timely delivery of justice to prevent such future incidents. No amount of punishment would be enough for any rapist but Chemical castration or Capital Punishment should be a must for every rapist. The calls of the so called “human rights activists” must not be heeded in such cases. Their silence is deafening when such incidents take place or when the bodies of our soldiers are mutilated. However they will scream for the likes of Ajmal Kasab or Afzal Guru.
J Jayalalitha, arguably India’s tallest woman leader since Indira Gandhi, was assaulted inside the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly in 1989 where she was the Leader of Opposition. Such was the situation she walked out with torn clothes due to the leaders of DMK making repeated attempts to tear her saree.
Even Gurmehar Kaur, the 19 year old daughter of a martyr, no matter how much one disagrees with her opinion should have been countered with valid points and logical reasoning. What was most sickening about that particular episode was that the 19 year old was abused and threatened of being raped by multiple persons on social media. These events literally sum up what is wrong with our country.
Some sections of our country continue to treat women as just sexual objects and they believe women are inferior to men. In 2017, there is still a silent hope of the newborn being a boy instead of a girl child. The lack of respect some sections of the society have for women is tragic. Laws like Triple Talaq, Polygamy and refusal to allow women during their menstruation period into temples only weakens their cause.
Let us take a step back and ask ourselves how far we have come since the Nirbhaya gang rape. Almost every month there is a new “Nirbhaya” somewhere across India. Do we know what “Nirbhaya” even means? Nirbhaya means fearless. But are Indian women really fearless?
The first stanza of the pledge that almost everyone has taken in our school life in our constitution states that “ All Indians are my brothers and sisters”. Only if we had taken the pledge seriously maybe our women would have been Nirbhaya in the truest sense.
The day every single woman in India would be fearless from dowry, triple talaq, rape cases, acid attacks would be the day India would have truly gained independence. India doesn’t need one Nirbhaya. India needs every woman to be Nirbhaya.