Though it was always present but talks about the punishment of rape grew louder after December 16, 2012, when a 23-year-old was brutally gang-raped in a moving bus in Delhi and died after battling for her life. A little over seven years later, four of the convicts in the case were hung on March 20 this year.
The victim’s family members said that they hoped that Indian families should start teaching their boys to respect women or to face such serious consequences. She said, “Women will now feel safe.”
But has it really become safer for women in the country? Today, while writing this piece also, there was news that a woman was gang-raped at Mankachar in the state’s South Salmara district. Two were held and the family was seeking justice.
Women’s safety has been constantly remaining as a matter of concern in Assam. With over 1900 cases of rape, the state recorded the highest ever rape cases in 2018 during the last five years. The latest official statistic of Assam Police has revealed that incidents of rape cases that were on a dipping trend have once again rocketed sharply.
According to state police statistics, there were 2047 rape cases recorded in 2014 which went down to 1852 in 2015. The number went down further in 2016 to 1723. The decline continued with 2017 recording 1708 cases. However, the trend reversed as 1909 rape cases were registered in 2018.
Police and government agencies have attributed the rise of numbers of rape cases in the state to the high numbers of reports. Police believed that unlike earlier women these days are much aware of their rights and don’t hesitate to lodge complaints. But, even if we take it as a good sign, it clearly displays that the crime was always there in the society, it was the reporting which was missing.
In 2012, the government reacting to the clamor on the streets for justice set up the Justice J.S. Verma Committee to look into rape laws. Though the report led to tough changes through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, but several recommendations were simply kept aside by the government, including those relating to marital rape and police reform.
It’s time that the Centre must take crimes against women in a more serious manner and act.