Shocking apathy

Shocking apathy

The sexual violence and other atrocities committed on a five-year-old girl child in Delhi and the shameful and criminal manner in which the matter was handled by the police have again brought the issue of women’s safety and security to national attention.

The girl, who was abducted and subjected to the worst brutalities, is struggling for survival in a hospital. The prolonged public protests in the wake of the rape and killing of a young woman in Delhi in December last year were expected to have increased public awareness.

They were also expected to have made the authorities and the police more conscious of their responsibilities to make the environment safe for women and to take stringent action when there are complaints. But it seems there is no improvement in attitudes.

The police were indifferent and unhelpful to the parents of the child when they went to the station to report that she was missing. The child had been raped and kept in detention for days by a man who lived in the same building.

There was no help from the police to trace her but it was the people of the locality who finally found her. It is also alleged that the police offered money to the parents to hush up the matter. The Delhi child’s case is only one among the many that keep coming to light in many parts of the country.

Many of these are not just cases of rape, but of terrible violence and even killing of victims. Police men show tardiness  in registering cases and acting on the complaints. Very often it is the victims and their parents who are faulted. It is a good sign that the people are protesting now. But shamefully the Delhi police which had ignored the parents’ complaint chose to beat  up the women protesters.

A new law was enacted to ensure women’s security after the December incident and many steps were claimed to have been taken to prevent crimes and deal with them stringently when they take place.

The crimes against women are rooted in some entrenched social attitudes and the laws cannot change them easily. But that is no reason for not enforcing the laws. The insensitivity of conduct and refusal to take prompt and effective action in such cases should be met with the strictest departmental and penal action. There is also the need to increase the number of women police personnel in all states.

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