By Rhea Kumar:
Just four months after the Nirbhaya gang rape, the city of New Delhi has witnessed stormy protests again. The issue is the same, except that this time the victim is not a young woman, but a little girl of five years of age who was kidnapped, gang raped brutally and locked up in a room to die, only to be found 40 hours after the gruesome incident in a critical condition. Just when it seemed that things were improving with stricter legislation against rape coming into force and the police force being sensitized for more effective response to complaints, the nation was jolted with a cruel reminder that nothing had actually changed. A report by the National Crime Records Bureau reveals that there has been a 336% spurt in child rape cases from 2001 to 2011. What is even more shocking is that 10% of the total number of rapes in 2011 involved minors as victims. Going by these mind-boggling statistics, things are clearly getting worse rather than improving.
The victim in this recent case is only one in a sea of millions of young girls across India who have fallen prey to this heinous crime. The statistics may show a sharp increase in the number of rape cases in the last three months, but such crimes have been occurring for the last twenty or thirty years in our country. Despite the increase in the number of cases reported, there remain an even larger number who never report their stories due to fear of social stigma and intimidation by the accused or police officials. Justice for these innocent victims remains a distant dream. And their childhood, so brutally snatched from them by depraved monsters, is gone forever.
For years, women have been accused of inviting rape through their provocative attire and free lifestyle. We were told to dress ‘properly’, avoid venturing out at night and ignore sleazy glances and comments rather than retaliate in self-defense. Society has tolerated the depravity of such individuals for long, choosing to restrict women rather than punish men for their indecent behavior. But what excuse do rapists have now? What gives them the right to violate the innocence of these young girls and maim them for life? How have these girls invited such barbaric treatment? Clearly, the issue is not one of provocation but of a deep mental sickness that pervades the Indian male psyche.
The following table is only a representation of some of the rapes in the past two decades that have had minors as victims. Some of these are not very well known, others are prominent but may have been forgotten over the years. It’s not necessary to say any more, I think the list is a perfect mirror for the twisted society we live in today.
|AN ENDLESS TALE OF HORROR AND MISERY : WHERE ARE WE HEADED?
|August 26, 1978||Two siblings, Geeta and Sanjay Chopra kidnapped for ransom by Billa and Ranga; subsequently Geeta was raped and both children were murdered; both culprits arrested a few months later and hanged in 1982|
|Jan 1996||16-year-old abducted and sexually assaulted by 45 men for 42 days in Suryanelli village in Kerala; Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien among accused; 35 accused acquitted by Kerala High Court in 2005; case re-openedÂ by Supreme Court in January 2013|
|December 13, 2012||16-year-old gang-raped by 17 (8 of whom are minor) in West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya|
|February 8, 2013||11 year old gang-raped by 5 men in Sikar, Rajasthan; suffers from `complete perineal tear’ and underwent 7 major surgeries to reconstruct private parts; still more surgery needed|
|March 5, 2013||3 minor sisters abducted, gang-raped and murdered in Bhandara district of Maharashtra|
|March 15,2013||13-year-old abducted and gang-raped by 8 men in Loni (outer Delhi), 4 of whom were known to her; 3 arrested; family could not get police to file a case and approached local court;Â case filed only on orders of local court
|March 27, 2013||12-year-old gang raped by five men in Sakaldiha, in UP’s Chandauli district; tehsil office set afire when police refused to register case|
|April 8, 2013||10-year-old rape victim pushed into police lock-up in Bulandshahar; family harassed and attacked by accused who still roams free|
|April 12, 2013||16-year-old gang-raped by 2 in Bijnor; police refuses to register complaint and victim beaten up by lady constable at Afzalgarh police station|
|April 15, 2013||5-year-old gang-raped in East Delhi and left in locked room, undergoing treatment at AIIMS, both culprits arrested|
|April 20, 2013||15-year-old gang-raped by 4 men in Bansdeeh area of Ballia district, all 4 arrested|
|April 21, 2013||9-year-old gang-raped and found with her throat slit in a tea garden in Assam’s Cachar district.|