Delhi is NOT India. Sexual crimes happen all over India.


When crime against women are committed in Delhi, the government suddenly springs to action IF there is a protest. An exception to this was the Guwahati molestation case because the video went viral. It was heartening that Delhi took to streets yesterday and forced the government to take notice (however bland it was) but the actions promised are a bit worrisome. There was no talk of taking up the issue at a national level. Our rulers (yeah, that is what they are. Rulers) should understand that applying quick fixes in Delhi will not solve the problem on a national scale.

According to the National Crime  Records Bureau (NCRB) data (1991-2011), Madhya Pradesh has led the nation in the number of rapes committed. Only last year, it recorded 3,406 cases of rape, which means nine women were raped here every 24 hours. Overall, the State accounted for 14 per cent of the rapes committed across the country in 2011. Among cities, the State capital, Bhopal, with 100 rapes, was second only to the metropolises Delhi (453) and Mumbai (221), while the State’s industrial capital, Indore, stood fifth, registering 91 rapes.

Not surprisingly, the top five States in terms of the number of rapes — Madhya Pradesh (3,406), West Bengal (2,363), Uttar Pradesh (2,042), Rajasthan (1,800) and Maharashtra (1,701) — also have dismal sex ratios. While Madhya Pradesh (930), Rajasthan (926) and Uttar Pradesh (908) have sex ratios below the national average of 940, West Bengal (947) and Maharashtra (946) are just on the threshold.

– from The Hindu

Small town crime against women rateIn February this year, a woman in Indore was gang-raped by eight people including a cop while her husband was kept in captivity. However the cops took their own sweet time to file an FIR. After the Delhi gang rape case, an abducted school girl was found raped and murdered in Chennai. She was 12. Let us not forget what happened to Sonali Mujherjee in Jharkhand when her face was splashed with acid and her father rubbed his nose in front of authorities for 10 years to get her treated as the criminals who did this to her were out on bail. And lets not forget that 19 rapes happened in a month in Haryana and no one raised an eyebrow.

And of course, Delhi goes on as usual when a 3 year old was raped by the husband of a play school owner. This happened after the Delhi gang rape incident. Clearly, the deterrents are not working. Clearly it is not an issue prevalent just in Delhi.

We are all aware of the various factors in play here which range from treating girl child as a liability to attitude within the government (where ministers blame women and mock them) and the police force to dismal conviction rates. All these problems will not vanish by hanging the gang rape accused of the Delhi case. And I am afraid that is where we are heading.

Punishing the accused is only one end of the spectrum. It happens after the crime has been committed. But what about preventive measures? I found a link to an article at Smitha’s blog which talked in this direction. Do read it here.

At this stage it would be pertinent to remember that the instances of perverts making lewd calls to women – which was a common phenomena in 1990s – dropped to virtually nil within a few years not because the Indian male underwent some sort of moral renaissance, but because phones started coming with caller IDs, and in a way disrupted the script.

– from the article

There are preventive measure which can be applied. More patrolling, better lightening of streets, gender sensitization, education, teaching your children about respecting other humans and gender equality, drilling messages through media. It will not happen immediately. It will take years. We cannot root out all the psychopaths that we have created over decades in one snap of a finger but we have to make a start. The government can play a vital role in this but everything will be defeated if this is not done on a national level.

In India, it takes a protest of the scale of what we saw yesterday to wake up the authorities. Even though the ruling party did call a press conference in the evening, everyone looked bored and completely unconcerned. They were behaving as if all of us were wasting their time. They were throwing technical jargon like rarest of rare rape cases and when asked what that means, they had no answer. When Barkha Dutt asked Sheila Dixit that why doesn’t she go and sit with the people and talk to them, she smiled and gave incoherent answers. Such attitude will not take us anywhere.

When the brutal killings of school children happened in USA a few days back, Obama was on television the next day addressing the nation. And the president was not ashamed of crying on national television. We do not expect something like this from our Prime Minister but he could have at least addressed the nation once? Why does the ruling class treat the very people who chose them as liabilities? Where is the connection, where is the concern?

I sincerely hope that the actions taken for sexual assaults are nationwide and not a quick fix which will crumble with the next rape. There is a limit to which we can tolerate this apathy.

[images from here]

41 comments on “Delhi is NOT India. Sexual crimes happen all over India.

  1. Certainly. And there are many small cities where crimes are not even getting reported. What I read in the paper today is that central govt is considering rarest or rare death sentence. But yes there are no hints on changing the social fabric, no steps for it. I was also expecting the Prime Minister to come out and at least address the nation.

    • Exactly. There was this minor tribal girl who was raped this year in Madhya Pradesh. Her mother was shot dead in front of her in their house after she lodged a complaint with the police. There is so much that has to be changed in our society that it will take a lot of time for a real visible change to come.

  2. Brilliant analysis that puts many things in perspective. However, I am skeptic about the experience of NYPD or the British Police helping us much. When I thik of the police personnel here, especially in the lower echelons, -heck, even the DIGs – and the concept of working on a crime script, I start giggling. We are in the dark ages. Just remember, more than 70% of the crime just doesn’t get reported, or even if the victims try to register an FIR, the police deflect them, or better still, rape them! Sorry for the skepticism, our people will be benefited better by emulating the well-oiled machinery of retribution in place among our middle eastern brethren.

    • I agree Uma, a crime script is a very far fetched idea but they can try to get some pointers from there. They have a long long way to go. For starters, they can stop treating us like shit.

  3. I agree. The change has to come at so many levels. And from within. It all begins with the mindset.
    I had just commented this on IHM’s blog as well. Simply harping on capital punishment sounds like a knee-jerk reaction to me. There is a lot of outrage, anger and fury…. and somehow it’s like there is no knowledge where to channelise it constructively.

    • Ash, capital punishment is not a preventive action. There crime has already happened by then. Yes, we have to change our society at so many levels before we can see things getting better.

  4. the apathy is still there, not just in the public but in the idiot politicians as well… there is no hard and fast plan on how to make the streets safer… rapes still continued yestaerday in Delhi, Tripura, Andhra and Tamil Nadu… that shocked me more. With all the focus on this particular crime, still people felt no fear in going about raping someone brutally…
    I keep getting reminded of the Dominoes sequence from V for Vendetta… anarchy is coming… I feel the final straw has already been placed…the first eventful domino pushed.

    • I think they are right now busy lathi charging students and children and trying to hide their skins. They are actually making all the rapists laugh at us.

  5. We spend so much money on Defence for the safety of our country.Isn’t safety of women a bigger cause? I have a feeling that most people in our country don’t understand this. It’s not just young boys who need to be told how to respect women, it’s each and every individual who doesn’t understand this shit. Really, we need to talk to our brothers, fathers and husbands as well. And if Sheila Dixit doesn’t understand the gravity of this situation, something is terribly wrong with our people.

    • Nisha,
      If we would have used the money at the proper place, this country would not have gone to the dogs like this. This country would have done wonders if the idiots ruling us would not have sold their souls.

  6. exactly, in a city like Bangalore, which is considered safe for women and usually don’t feature in any ‘crime against women’ list, girls fear to go out at night there and a huge number of cases go unregistered there.

    yes, our prime minister addressing the nation on this issue could have made a lot of difference.

    • Debs,
      If you go to Police for an FIR, the first thing they do is to dissuade you because you are giving them more work. The lazy bastards want to lie around like pigs. And they are supposed to look after us.
      God knows where our PM is. I really do not want to see his face after 2014.

  7. another thing i fnd disturbing- People (including those in my friends circle, bloggers, facebook-ers…) go like “where were these people when dalits were raped, worst gangrapes than these have happened… nobody protested…” why condemn the protest when people hav FINALLY woke up… why not the ‘better late than never attitude”! Saying jus anythng jus for the heck of it!

    • Oh yes! That kind is always there. They are equal pathetic as our politicians and lawmakers. Since you haven’t protested for XYZ people, you have no right to protest for ABC – what kind of a twisted logic is that? The problem with such people is that they are incapable of moving their own ass but find it extremely difficult to understand that everyone is not like them.

  8. So well said Amit.. certainly we need a strong message going out so that some one wouldn’t dare to commit such a crime and yes we need to educate our children all the things you have mentioned because they are the future of tomorrow.

    • Thanks Chaitali. Yes, in addition to strict laws, we need a larger change in ourselves. Till the citizens of this nation change, no law is going to help.

  9. These numbers are shocking, Amit. But unfortunately, that is the reality. We are electing a….. as our leaders…only if there were more honest people in politics and people made a wise decision in choosing them. Each day it scares me to open the news….it’s so disgusting to think where we are living and in between who? I only wish and hope things will get better…but again something keeps pulling me back, it won’t change… 😦

  10. Superb post, Amit. Agree – it needs preventive measures – CC TVs, crackdown on drunke behavior in public areas, tinted glass windows, unlicensed public transport, plainclothesmen / women patrolling (did you know that when Kovalam – which is an international beach destination, became unsafe for women, there were plainclothes women police patrolling and whacking the heck out of eve teasers!!)

    But I would also tend to agree with Nida in her comment. It is not becasue we were not shocked as a nation that we did not protest. It was simply waiting to boil over. The Guwahati incident followed by this one, was the last straw, and hence the perception that it took this case to break silence. It is not only this case… but this one brought forth the anger and anguish that we’ve been having over so many months.

    • Thanks Nirvana. I think the protest is getting a direction now. We have pointers which we need the government to answer. We require timelines. Vague answers like – we will look into it will not work.
      I think that is how things work in India. The ruling party suppress people till they finally reach the limit and fight back. That is how we gained independence.

  11. yes, we need to start teaching and emphasizing at home about gender equality and respecting human kinds.. let it take time, but rape has to be eradicated.. we live in a nation where 3 yr can be raped and 60 year can also be raped.. :(..

  12. I woke up this morning to read two news headlines, one is about a gang-rape victim in Ambedkar Nagar (U.P.) being raped by the cops probing her case, and another about Andhra Pradesh Cong chief saying women should behave well, and not “roam around in the night”. I notice that in the foreign clinical medicine and Gyn books, the chapter on rape includes instructions and pointers for the doctor’s behavior for such a sensitive situation, and how to see the event being more than just a physical injury or a medicolegal case. But I think Indian books, Indian training (medical and forensic books, clinical training, police procedural, nursing, etc) completely ignore the “how to behave with victim” aspect. So there is fundamental difference in approach to and understanding of the crime and the criminal psychology involved. The foreign books at some point state that it is the violence of the rapist that is the cause, while the society in India, including our medicine professors, imply that it is the woman who invited the crime on herself.
    You know, sometimes I feel desperate on seeing how steep the curve of degradation has become for some things, and a few days ago we were discussing why there will be a change only after a revolution. I said, there isn’t enough critical mass for a revolution. And just two days later, there was this interesting article:

    So, perhaps, going by the political situation of our country, we need a party for women victims of violence.

    • Nomad,
      I think the article is trash. I do not understand how NY Times can publish something like that. In the last 60 years, every case of rioting has been instigated by a political party. Half of the things are not done by the center in fear that they will be toppled over by their supporting parties. So no, the system does not work for India.
      I don’t believe things will change in a year or even a decade. It will take more than that. And I think we have taken the right step by protesting.

      • Oh, the article is rubbish and patronizing. The system does NOT work, and people who are living through it know that. But I found the writer’s take on explaining the complacence of the people interesting. It is perhaps the promise of doing something about things that keeps the politicians in power, in spite of such open and rampant corruption. A close friend in the excise dept. once told us many years ago, about the sum of money (some crores, I have forgotten), his dept provided Amar Singh, and I was shocked at the matter of nature of his description of many such things. I was new in U.P. then, and later of course went on to experience traumatizing instances of the corruption there. But I used to wonder howis it that people know everything, and yet nothing really happens.

        • I think the idea is – Keep them poor but keep them hopeful and give them small goodies once in a while.
          It works for a certain time but soon people start seeing through the farce. I think we have reached that point.
          UP is another ballgame. That kind of rampant corruption is unparalleled. And I think the people in U.P. are the laziest in this country and hence are in this state.

  13. I heard our Home Minister being “grilled”by Rajdeep Sardesai on CNN. The way he said- if tomm Maoists want to meet expect me to meet them????…tom if 100 Aadivassis die …what do you expect me to do…go their and meet people…??..was actually proof enough that not only the people sitting at the helm DO NOT care…the fact that they have long lost any sense of responsibility or accountability towards the people. This was a shameless acceptance of the fact, that look…we are here to enjoy power, make money, travel across the world..thats it. It was disturbing!

    I am still not sure what will be the eventual effect of these protests….will there be actually any perceptible change in the situation….one thing is clear that people who are there..have no interest in anything other than their power, since it was Delhi and crowds covered the coveted area near India gate…they left their forces open to shoo us away…
    if we go by the attitude of Mr. Shinde, he or for that matter anyone up there does not care about any girl being raped until its one of hie three daughters!! They are totally detached from a normal middle/ lower class life in India. Bas humare area mein bheed mat karo…ye desh ki izzat hai…..
    I sincerely wish this Xmas…That God, its enough now!!…Pls help us…!

    • I saw that grilling. His answers were nothing more than – ‘let me do what I want to do and don’t question me’.
      No they don’t care and now they will start the game of passing the muck. It has already started.
      They know for sure that the time has gone when people used to sit and let them do what they wanted. If not for being considerate for the citizens, the wolves will be cautious to save their own hides. People are questioning them and this makes them nervous.

  14. We know now, what they are capable of. They don’t want to address the issue seriously except to mouth inanities. And that awful supercilious smile! It grates. At least treat issues that matter so much to citizens with a little more respect. Nothing is more important than the citizens’ – whether male or female – safety. Hope decent Indians won’t let up till the politicians are made to understand that. Hope the united action doesn’t stop. A thoughtful and well researched post, Amit.

    • I think politics in India is now such a well oiled machine that it will take a lot of effort to make it stop. All cogs are in place making this giant run on human sacrifies. It is like one of those monster Gods who drink human blood every day.
      But we have refused to provide sacrifices anymore and the monster is angry. Lets see where it ends.
      Thanks kayemofnmyk.

  15. Well a punishment never solved a problem. A sensitive police force, an attitude that does not blame the woman or think of her as an object to be played or used, a swift judicial process coupled with stringent punishment will all go a long way in helping. And, that would require an all around change beginning with the attitude. In Bangalore I don’t drive beyond 9 pm. I have faced numerous leching, intimidation incidents along with groping. I am sick to the gills with the “checking out” attitude that is pervasive in the society right from the lowermost strata to the uppermost and reaching right upto the uncles or elder men who also don’t hesitate to look you over. It is a malaise. We urgently need to teach men to respect women.

    • I have been reading statements of women who were beaten up that day on India Gate and they are shocking. The police used abusive language and swear words on them while beating them. That is our police force.
      I am not very hopeful but I think the situation will improve marginally over the next few years not because the politicians or the police are interested but because we are holding their collars.

  16. This a very very well written article. And I totally agree about preventive measures. I totally understand what Smitha says as well- it is so true!
    Everytime i take a cab here, I am asked if Delhi is dangerous for women and whether women really cannot walk out in the open and things like that. Some people even swear and wonder how could a young girl for no fault of hers be subjected to this? I find it very very hard to answer because I do not want to show India that way 😦 I really don;t want to say that it is very frequent and let people think that that’s all what India is about 😦 But I feel guilty when I try to cover up. I try to give reasons and and admit as well as remind them that THAT does not mean women don’t go out or anything like that. It is a difficult situation for me.

    But the truth is that we have a very very long way to go. And people should start reporting these cases openly with this form of support instead of waiting. That way we are always a good number and will be taken seriously? I hope we never forget this incident.

    Sorry. Too many thoughts.

    • Kismitoffeebar,
      I think the things are out in the open after this particular incident. But, yeah, rapes are as much prevalent in western societies as in ours. Even the conviction rates there are pretty bad although I am not sure about South East Asia.
      People are coming out and reporting more and more cases which is good because that will increase the pressure. I hope things change for the better.

  17. India and its so called ‘rulers’ are in a serious sorry state. Hope the change we expect in the years to come starts now itself.

    PS loved your expression of writing..

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