Fairly permissive Mizoram had been wondering why 'mainland malaise' such as rape and pedophilia were stalking the highlanders. The police have found an answer – sex videos – after an influential students' body blamed it on 'sexy' school dresses.
Finding a pattern to rapes in Mizoram, the police in this northeastern state discovered that most men caught on charges of rape were aged 40 years or above. And a majority of their victims were girls aged 10-15 years.
"Convicted rapists and others caught on charges of sexually assaulting young girls and minors confessed they watched sex videos before striking," said Aizawl superintendent of police Lalbiakthanga Khaingte.
The study also revealed that 30.2% victims were in the 10-15 age group, 20.3% in the 5-10 age group and 18.3% aged between 15 and 20 years.
The findings followed a rally by the Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) last week to condemn the increasing rate of crimes against women in Mizoram. MHIP is Mizoram's apex body of women.
"We have been seeking stringent laws to check rapes, murders and other crimes against women," said MHIP president Lalthlamuani. "The most disturbing trend in Mizoram is the rape and murder of minors."
A 5-year-old girl was raped and murdered in Aizawl on November 11. A similar case was reported elsewhere in the state on October 18.
According to the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) or Mizo Students' Union, the government's lethargy in implementing strict dress codes in educational institutions has been 'encouraging' sexual attacks.
Mizoram's school education department had earlier this year formed the Committee on Indecent School Dress and Hairstyle after the MZP demanded a ban on underwear-showing low-slung trousers and micro mini skirts in schools and colleges.
"But the government is yet to issue orders to the schools to ensure a decent dress code," MZP president Khraws Hmehova told HT from Aizawl on Monday. He added the MZP was mobilizing its units for implementing strict social codes aimed at checking involuntary sex and punishing men who cross the line.