The LG vs AAP government tussle seems to have taken a toll on the people of Delhi if the spate of rapes of children in recent times is anything to go by. Close on the heels of the rape of a three-year-old girl comes the gangrape of an eight-year-old. She was taken away by three men as she lay sleeping outside her home. What makes this more horrifying is the fact that the main accused had allegedly tried to abduct the child earlier as well.
Children and women in cities and towns across India are vulnerable to predators for lack of basic amenities. In the present case, the family was sleeping outside as there was no power. Lack of toilets forces women to use fields where predators lie in wait. Much of the crime takes place in unauthorised colonies where there is little or no police patrolling. Migrant workers who live in flimsy shacks or out in the open have no choice but to leave their children unattended while they work. This leaves them open to criminals who kidnap or rape them.
The fact that migration from villages to cities is going to increase cannot be disputed. But certainly the areas where migrant labour is clustered can be policed a bit better.
Now that the LG has been given judicial sanction to exercise his powers, the law and order situation should be looked at more carefully. There is nothing to stop the police from building up a database of offenders in these areas. The police are either not around to protect the scores of people who live in the open or are not available on emergency lines. In the case of rapes of women and children from among the more disadvantaged sections, the police have routinely been accused of dragging their feet in registering cases.
Simple solutions like better power supply, street lighting, more women constables in police stations in areas where migrant labour live and better sanitation can go a long way towards reducing such crimes.