Alarming Increase in Rape Cases and Child Sexual Abuse in India

 

Alarming Increase in Rape Cases and Child Sexual Abuse in India

By Faheem Usmani Qasmi

About 7 years ago on the night of 16 December 2012, the brutal gangrape of a paramedical student by six men on a moving bus in the national capital, Delhi shook the nation for the sheer brutality and torture inflicted on the hapless girl.

The horrific incident followed by large public protests, has led to a great deal of soul searching about the problem of sexual violence in India. Politicians, lawyers, women’s rights activists, and an independent government appointed commission have all made proposals for new laws, police reform, and public education. Even seeing the massive anger against the heinous crime, the government was forced to set up a three-member committee to suggest changes in the anti-rape laws.

Asifa’s case is not too old to forget. An 8-year old minor girl was brutally raped and murdered in Rasana village near Kathaua in Jammu and Kasmir. The heinous crime sparked widespread outrage all over the country.

Expressing concern about violence against women after the New Delhi rape, Louis-Georges Arsenault, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative to India, said that “too many of these cases are children.”

The then government had promised action and great awareness has been raised about sexual violence against women and children in India. But result nowhere is seen. Why the government and administration is so carless regarding this very sensitive matter.

Once again, over the last week, a wave of outrage and repulsion has enveloped the country in response to the two brutal gang-rape and murder –of 27-year old vet in Hyderabad and a 23-year old women in UP’s Unnao.

The data collated by the Supreme Court once more was totally shocking to the entire nation and showed to what extent social values have declined. As per SC, 24,212 FIRs have been registered from 1st January 2019, to June 30, 2019, regarding only Child Rape. Out of the same only, 911 cases have been disposed off. This is 4 per cent of the total. Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of FIRs registered at 3457 and it had only disposed of f 22 FIRs which was a minuscule 3 per cent of the total FIRs registered.

The data compiled by the Supreme Court Registry suggest, if one thinks, that 4000 children are rapped every month, 130 every day and one child is sexually abused each five minute in our country. How ironical and shameful it is! It presents on the other hand a gloomy picture our judicial system that how child rape victims have to wait for years to get justice.

The survey indicated that out of the 24,212 FIRS of child rape cases registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act 2012, about 48 per cent cases (11,081) are under investigation.

Uttar Pradesh topped the list with police registering FIRs in 3,457 incidents of child sexual abuse. More than 50% of cases, or 1,779 FIRs, are still under investigation. Madhya Pradesh recorded 2,389 such incidents but appeared prompt in investigation the cases by filing charge sheets in 1,841 cases and courts completed trial in 247 cases.

The fresh reports are more horrifying from UP as 86 rape cases have been reported in UP’s Unnao from January to November this year. This district now qualifies to be known as the rape capital “of Uttar Pradesh”. According to reports 185 cases of sexual harassment of women have been reported from this district during the same period.

Other states where people recorded large number of child rape incidents are Rajasthan 1,992; Maharashtra 1,124; Tamil Nadu 1,043; Kerala 1.012; Odisha 1,005; Telangana 298 amd Assam 904. Nagaland recorded the lowest number of child sexual abuse cases at nine.

The exercise undertaken by the apex court could set the ball rolling for major overhaul in the justice system, paving the way for path-breaking criminal reforms in child rape cases.

There is of no use in decrying media exposure when our own justice system, our law-and-order machinery and, most importantly our moral value systems are in a terminal decline.

It is high time that the top court should issue orders for more courts and special POSCO court to handle the backlog of cases. They must also ask the public to create awareness campaigns not only to stem such rising crime rates but also to encourage the victims to register FIRS, which in some cases they are pressurized to withdraw or prevented from doing so.

The writer is research excutive at MMERC, Mumbai