The explanation by the Haryana police that they were examining vital clues almost five days after the body of a mentally challenged woman was found brutalised and raped is to add insult to injury. The police did nothing when the victim’s family reported her missing on February 1 and were dragging their feet even after the remains of the woman were found in a field in a terrible state.
Much like the gangrape in the Capital, which made national headlines and effected a change in the law, the woman had been tortured in a heinous manner during the sexual assault. The police have nabbed eight men but the fact remains that they chose not to act until public outrage forced them to.
Nothing else explains why a case was not registered when she first went missing. The horror in Haryana finds echo in Bengaluru, where recently an eight-year-old was raped and murdered. The crimes against women show no signs of abating and proof of this lies in yet another terrifying murder in Lucknow where parts of the victim’s body were scattered across the city.
The latest shocker is the alleged rape of a foreign student in Jaipur. As usual, the Haryana case has become a political football between the BJP and the Congress. Haryana has a poor track record in crimes against women and this is borne out by its poor sex ratio.
The change in mindset, which we keep hoping will protect women, is still a long way off. The culprits, as in the case of a recent mobile recording of a gangrape, execute these crimes in the certainty that they can get away with them. The police are notoriously reluctant to act in sexual crimes against women, thanks both to apathy and prejudice. In fact, even when cases are registered, the victims are stigmatised and forced to relive their trauma.
The fact that the law has become more stringent does not seem to have helped too much. The political class could, instead of trying to trip each other up, ensure that the police are not allowed to get away with shoddy work that allows justice to slip between the cracks.