Rising crime against women: India must act now, says Woman activist

India has to go to war against rapists, says woman activist

| Updated: 24 July, 2023 8:57 pm IST
NCRB statistics paint a grim picture, revealing a 15.3 per cent increase in crimes against women

KOLKATA: The horrifying incidents of rape and murder continue to plague India, with no signs of abating. In the wake of the report on the assault of two women in Manipur, such heinous crimes have been on the rise across the country.

The most recent shocking incident took place in Manipur’s Imphal East, where an 18-year-old woman was abducted, assaulted, and gang-raped on May 15. Adding to the distressing list is an incident from Jodhpur, Rajasthan, where a 17-year-old Dalit girl, who had eloped with her boyfriend, was allegedly gang-raped by three college students in front of him on Sunday.

In West Bengal, a tragic case came to light when the naked body of a 62-year-old woman was found hanged, her face wrapped in a towel, in Saithia, Birbhum. Neighbours alleged that the sexagenarian was murdered and raped. While the police have not released any official statements, the Saithia police station has registered a case of murder.

Adding to the growing concern, another recent incident unfolded in Birbhum, West Bengal, where a 58-year-old woman was allegedly raped and murdered.

Disturbingly, on July 19, a viral video captured the brutal thrashing and partial nudity of two women in Malda, West Bengal.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics paint a grim picture, revealing a 15.3 per cent increase in crimes against women compared to the previous year, 2021. The reported incidents have risen from 56.5 per cent in 2020 to 64.5 per cent in 2021, based on the number of crimes per 1 lakh population.

Despite a decade having passed since the nation-shaking Nirbhaya gangrape incident, atrocities against women persist in India, leaving citizens and activists deeply concerned.

Dr Ranjana Kumari, a prominent woman activist and Director of the Centre for Social Research, expressed her deep dismay over the incidents in Manipur, Bengal, and other parts of the country.

“What happened in Manipur and also in Bengal or in many other parts of the country is utterly unacceptable. It’s also very shameful for a nation that prides itself on doing women-led development and women leading the country,” Dr Kumari told The New Indian.

She emphasised the urgent need for change, especially in a nation that takes pride in promoting women-led development and female leadership. Despite her four decades of work in the field, she observed that gruesome acts against women continue unabated, reflecting a deeply troubling trend.

Dr Kumari condemned the reprehensible behaviour of men towards women, highlighting the disturbing audacity displayed by some individuals, who take pride in humiliating and violating women. She stressed that such actions are unacceptable and urged immediate action at the highest levels of authority.

“Look at the perception of the men and their behaviour towards women. In spite of my four decades of work, the most gruesome acts are still happening against women. We have reached the bottom of Indian society, where men take pride in disrobing women and touching their body parts. I can’t imagine anything worse than this,” she said.

Addressing the issue of rape as a political tool, Dr Kumari called for an end to its use against communities, emphasising that it is time to put a stop to such malicious practices.

“In Manipur, the state has become a mute witness of what happened. Rape has always been an instrument of war, but now it is a political issue. Now it is being used as a political action against a community. This has to stop immediately,” she said.

“People at the highest level should intervene and immediately punish the guilty,” she added.

Voicing her stance on recent rape incidents, Dr Kumari asserted that India must confront the situation head-on and act swiftly against rapists.

She called for a war-like response, eliminating all perpetrators and instilling fear in the minds of potential criminals. She expressed concern about the growing impunity and acceptability of such heinous acts, emphasising the urgent need for widespread involvement, from the Prime Minister to local authorities, in combating crimes against women.

“India has to go on a war footing against these rapists. We have to eliminate them all. We have to create fear in the minds of boys and men that you cannot get away with that, but in reality, the reverse is happening,” she said.

“There is much more impunity, acceptability for such kinds of things (crimes), as if nobody is listening or watching. Women are neither safe at home nor on the street. Criminality is growing and moral and social degradation is taking place. From the Prime minister to the block-level person, every man should get involved against this crime because this is a crime committed by men against women,” she added.

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