It is not only the increasing incidents of rape but the spate of insensitive remarks made by Indian politicians on the issue that is drawing the attention of Parliamentarians abroad.
Baroness Vivien Stern, peer member of the House of Lords, told HT that she was looking at the BBC website and read about India and what Indian politicians have said on rape. “None of that could anybody say here now,” she said, adding, “There used to be an attitude that she says she has been raped, if you looked at her she was asking for it … That is not acceptable. Nobody would say that on record now, absolutely nobody.”
A June 2014 article titled Indian politicians’ ‘unfortunate’ rape remarks quoted comments made by several politicians.
The Baroness said though India was moving fast in terms of doing something about women, the criminal justice system, especially at the lower level, was a “catastrophe.” “You (India) got a lot of problems… You have got one social norm and then you have got the criminal justice system which is a bit of a catastrophe in many ways at the lower level. The Supreme Court is wonderful; it is one of the great juridicial institutions of the world but the average court in an average town… It is not going to give justice,” she said while talking to a delegation of women from India.
Comparing the situation regarding rape in the UK or England with India, she said, “At the moment, I think certainly true that the impunity in India is actually huge. First of all, whether anybody ever hears about it, and then whether the police do anything about it except further abuse the victim… In that sense, we are hugely different because we do not have impunity from the system. It does not mean that in all the cases the victims get justice but it is felt to be a good thing to go and report… People feel that if they do report, they will be treated well.”
Baroness Joyce Anelay, minister of state of the foreign and commonwealth office, said: “I can certainly say that our foreign office and department of international development want to continue to work with civil society in India to eradicate violence against women and girls.”