The gang-rape on a moving bus on December 16 last year had sparked an unprecedented anger among the people but the outrage didn’t help to change much on the ground.
In fact, the national Capital recorded a spurt in rape and molestation cases after the brutal sexual assault on the 23-year-old paramedical student. Over a thousand rape cases were reported in Delhi till August 15 this year.
“It has made no difference to them...neither the police nor the government. So much was promised but for us things are same as they were on December 16,” said the father of the victim.
The Delhi Police, among many other agencies, had promised a slew of measures to make public spaces safe for woman. Enhanced patrolling and deployment at vulnerable spots, PCR pick-ups, more women personnel, etc. However, most of them were either not executed or if done, only half-heartedly. The focus of policing is still on the VIP districts — maximum PCR vans per district is still in New Delhi.
“The situation is as bad as it was before December 16, if not worse. Even today whenever a rape case is reported we see politicians and even police officers holding women responsible for the crime.
The mindset has to change. Strict implementation of the law will help change the mindset as perpetrators think they can get away with anything,” said Kavita Krishnan, secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA).
While the Delhi government had launched a helpline for women in distress, 181, officials claimed that lack of coordination with the police remained one of the biggest obstacles in getting those complaints translated into FIRs.
Most of the calls on 181, which receives almost 1,000 calls every day, are related to domestic violence, obscene calls, sexual abuse and stalking.
“More women are coming forward to report cases and that is why the number of cases have gone up.
This is a healthy trend as women are confident that action will be taken on their complaints,” said Khadija Farooqui, a human rights consultant to the Delhi government.
The Justice JS Verma committee had recommended enhancing the strength of police force and developing community policing by training volunteers. None of these suggestions has been implemented.
“We can’t leave everything to police as they have their own constraints. It is important for women to know their rights and learn self-defence,” said Bulbul Dhar, director of Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia.