The recent gang rape of a Nigerian woman in Delhi’s Mayur Vihar area has brought us at the crossroads once again. Infamously known as the rape capital of India, Delhi has not failed to surprise us with growing number of rape cases and other forms of violence on women. The new Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, had women security as one of the most important agenda during the election campaigning period. His vision of deploying marshal force for women security in Delhi gained much attention.
But few days after Kejriwal has taken the charge, there is no evident change in the scenario. The rape cases are on a rise. Like previous government, the present government is also condemning the incident, and asking for probe into the matter. Though it is too early to expect any concrete change in less than a month’s time after AAP has come into power.
“It is too early to expect a change in Delhi. Kejriwal doesn’t have a magic wand.” says Mangla Varma, a lawyer and women’s right activist. “There is a difference in what Sheila Dixit was promising for 15 years, and what the new government has promised. There was no concrete steps taken by the earlier government. But the new government has promised a lot. And we must wait and see how they take things forward. Currently, in just two weeks of formation of government, they must be prioritising various issues.” she added.
Human Rights Activist Alok Dixit had a different opinion though. “Delhi is not different from rest of the country. I feel any region in this country can become ‘rape free zone’, if that region is provided proper education and becomes sensitive to the crimes against any human. Promising marshals and CCTV cameras do not stop rape cases. 80% of the cases which are reported, the victim already knows the culprit. This is also the case in Acid Attacks which have been reported.” said Alok Dixit. He is also co-founder of the Stop Acid Attacks campaign in India.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau 2013 annual report, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. Out of these, 24,470 were committed by relative or neighbour; in other words, the victim knew the alleged rapist in 98 per cent of the cases. The incidence of reported rapes in India for 2010 were 1.8 per 100,000 people, among the lowest in the world. The US figure for 2010 was 27.3 per 100,000. However, it is estimated that only 1 in 10 rapes in India gets reported, while in the US 46% are reported. According to one of the reports published in India Today, a woman was raped in every 18 hours in Delhi in 2011. According to another report by Times of India, the reported cases of rape went upto almost 5 rapes every day in 2013! This was highest in 13 years.
This bring us to the seriousness of the crime in Delhi. There have been many cases of violence on women from other countries as well in the city. The recent crime against the Nigerian woman is again making to international news. But the bigger question remains unanswered- will Delhi ever become a ‘Rape Free Zone?”
This article was first published on LokMarg on February 25, 2015