National Happening

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Rapes in India
Capital Offence
While security of women has become a top-of-the-mind issue, the man in uniform mandated to provide protection is increasingly turning a sexual offender. anil pandey investigates

In a country, which is coming close to being dubbed the rape kingdom of the world, offenders are not merely the vagrant and lumpen elements of society. Increasingly the number of those charged with this capital offence are men in uniform.

According to figures available with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in 2013 of the 15,571 complaints including  sexual misdemeanors registered with them, a whopping majority of the 8,470 were lodged against policemen. That is bad news for a country aspiring to reach the global high table.

Now consider some archetype samples:

  • In Chandigarh, five policemen gang raped a class 10 girl at the point of a gun for two-and-a-half months;
  • In Delhi, two policemen have been charged with an attempt to rape a minor;
  • A DSP-level officer in UP has been charged with luring a young girl with prospects of employment and then raping her. On protests, the victim is threatened with death;
  • In UP’s Pratapgarh’s district, a cop molested a woman who had come to lodge a complaint;
  • In Noida, two UP Police constables and three friends have been charged with gang rape;
  • In Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district, a minor girl was kidnapped and raped by an assistant sub-inspector and a special police officer;
  • In Amritsar, a woman tourist is sexually abused by the Government Railway Police (GRP) head constable Ajmera Singh on the pretext of helping out with hotel accommodation;
  • In HP’s Mandi district, three cops are charged with outraging the modesty of a woman on the pretext of helping her with road directions;
  • In Shillong, Nurul Islam, a police post-in-charge, is accused of raping two sisters, one at the post and other at home when a complaint was lodged against him.

That then are the most common headlines in the last one year when those mandated to protect women have merrily disregarded rules, using their high offices to indulge in the most wanton attacks on a hapless citizenry. Apparently all the national outcry over rape and several legislations later, the gravity of the situation is utterly lost on them.

While the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) points out that 90 percent of such acts are committed by known persons, the role of those in uniform designated to protect victims has gone largely unnoticed. In December 2013, when Delhi’s civil society was burning the mid-night candles – quite literally – protesting against the brutal Nirbhaya gang rape a year ago much to the nation’s shame, an innocent was being gang raped by five policemen in Chandigarh. The matter came to light on December 20 last year when the survivor with the help of her brother, some local leaders and NGOs managed to lodge a FIR against the five Chandigarh-based cops. According to the survivor’s account, she had approached the police with a complaint about a dispute with a relative. She was called in to discuss the case and in the PCR van was gang raped by five policemen at the point of gun. This routine continued for several weeks until the bubble was burst. At the moment, the five accused, constables Jagtar, Akshay, Himmat, Sunil and Anil are behind bars. While Sunil was attached to the crime branch, the rest four were posted at the PCR.

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