Over 32000 murders, 19,000 rapes, 7500 dowry deaths and 36500 molestation cases are the violent crimes reported in India in 2006 against women. There are many instances of crime especially against women go unreported in India. These are figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau recently. While Madhya Pradesh is worst off among the states, the national capital New Delhi continues to hold on to its reputation of being the most unsafe city in India. Delhi takes the top slot for crimes ranging from murders and rapes to dowry deaths and abductions.
It reflects country’s law and order situation when its capital is a cauldron of crime. Instead of leading the way in tackling crime, Delhi only seems to do worse year after year. For instance while the national crime rate declined negligibly by .02 % in 2006; Delhi’s rate grew to 357.2more than double the national average of 167.7.
Rape is the fastest growing crime in the country today and as many as 18 women are assaulted in some form or the other every hour across India. Over the last few months cases of rapes and assault have made it to the headlines with alarming frequency. Mumbai watched with shame as an ugly mob attacked women on New Year’s Eve. In Latur a 14 year old was raped and killed by four young men. In Konark four men were charged with dragging a woman out of a bus and gang raping her. It is an ordeal simply to file a police report and the investigations thereafter have been stories of apathy and down right humiliation meted out to the victims. Where convicted, punishments have ranged from capital punishments to a day in jail.
Equally horrific are news reports of foreign tourists being sexually assaulted. Recently an American was molested in Pushkar, a British journalist raped in Goa, Canadian girls attacked in Kumarakom to list the few instances. It looks like that India as a nation has ceased to know how to treat women as human beings who have a right to dignity and safety. The crime against tourists is against our culture of “atithi devo bhava’ Government has decided to meet and discuss with the state government the safety of women tourists as a reaction from the fear that such incidents will impact India’s image.
Despite the trauma women across all classes are reporting crimes such as rape and assault and do not feel helpless or abandoned by family or society as was the prevalent case before. Society is changing and government is forced to take action as it has run out of excuses such as society’s mindset or class divide.