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Unsafe India:WOMEN EASY PREY, by Mithun Dey,15 December 2010 Print E-mail

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New Delhi, 15 December 2010

Unsafe India


By Mithun Dey


Indian cities have earned notoriety for being unsafe for women. Whereby the fair sex is not only being hassled, stalked and raped but incidents of immoral trafficking also are very high. Add to this the heinous practice of female feticide and infanticide wherein nearly 10 million baby girls have been killed in the last twenty years alone.


In fact, the level of atrocities against women is an indicator of the coercion of our society and underscores that we are a suppressed society. Clearly, safety is an obsolete word in today’s India.


Worse, if one goes by media reports, violence against women has sharply increased. Specially, in the Union Capital New Delhi. Shockingly, over 433 rapes have taken place till date this year alone. According to police sources, at least one rape takes place every day. In the last two months alone, four women have been gang-raped, that too in a moving car.


This is not all. Women from the North-East are the latest victims of harassment and more than 15 cases of molestation and being “aggressively ill-treated” have come to light recently. Only a while back, a young 30-year old girl from Mizoram working at a call centre was kidnapped and gang-raped by four men in the Capital. Another, from neighbouring State Manipur met the same fate while returning home from work with her friend.


A report prepared by the Asia Indigenous People Pact (AIPP) on women and racial bias of Northeast India and another by the Indigenous Women and Child Welfare Manipur (IWCF) on women living in metropolitan cities in the country  elucidates that the highest level of incidents occur in Delhi. This is corroborated by police officials who assert that 50 per cent of the reported and registered fatalities of sexual harassment incidents in the Capital are from the Northeast. However, unreported cases are much higher.


More. According to a recent survey almost 96 per cent of the women living in Delhi have unequivocally asserted that women are not safe in the city, notwithstanding about 44 per cent of the abused respondents choosing to remain silent. While sexual pestering in the Union Capital’s public places is a common phenomenon, it is not dependent on the economic status of the individual.


Most scandalously, as the survey reveals over 88 per cent women feel that when a woman is hassled in a public place, she rarely gets help from bystanders. Add to this, most women do not feel they can trust the police. Only 19 per cent think that the victims should report the matter to the police. In fact, one of the key findings of the survey was that the level of awareness among the respondents on existing laws and support mechanisms is very low.


There is no gainsaying, that till one loses a tranquil environs a person does not know realize its worth. Indeed, with crime, violence and destruction of our cities increasing day after day clearly explodes the myth that cities, which are presently safe, would continue to be safe and secure. Bringing things to such a pass that not only in India but world-wide a fragile calm exists. Anything can ignite violence instantly.  


Thus, making it the paramount duty of the law-enforcing agencies to enforce the rules. If not, done so expeditiously it would continue to make the cities fairly unsafe for children and women who should be educated on how to deal with difficult situations for their own safety.


Towards that end, the law enforcing agencies are not enough. The Administration should take the help of people’s teamwork to eradicate this scourge. Unless people come forward and unite in rooting out this social evil, things will not improve. With increasing people’s participation in their drive against crimes, the police would be forced to act instead of remaining a mute spectator. It would be mandatory for it to dispense its bounden duties.


Further, the youth too should be motivated to carry out its social responsibility vis-à-vis protecting children and women. The need of the hour is for parents to monitor their children during their adolescent years. Not only that. Elders should set examples for the youth to follow.


It is no secret that everyone only thinks and talks ad nauseum of changing society. But no one thinks of changing oneself. If we all abide by the rules, then women in our cities shall be safer.


Sadly, Indian cities are not only burgeoning with sex fanatics thanks to increasing sex tourism but also with thieves, kidnappers and cinema brokers etc. There are many areas and places in various cities which attract young men and women for private rendezvous like parks, beaches, cinema theatres, shopping malls, coffee shops and pubs.


If truth be told, girls who go ‘dating’ to these places, often get into all sorts of trouble. In addition, internet and increasing use of cell phones also exposes city girls to ‘chancy’ situations. As also over-crowded buses and lonely lanes. Wherein if a girl is caught in a dangerous situation help would be rarely available. Increasingly one finds that in the midst of heavy traffic autos and call center taxis used by women for commuting are involved in criminal offences against them.


In sum, as the report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) elucidates, Delhi is numero uno when it comes to violence against women followed by West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Clearly, underscoring that India is all about the survival of the fittest. We need to make our country sans abuse and safe for women and children. As a famous US Republican legislator Mary Jodi Rill said: “At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security”. ----- INFA


(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

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