India Insight

A year after a deadly rape, Delhi women not keen on self-defence classes

Riddhi Mittal took a big professional risk when she moved back to Delhi in September to start her own software company. She did not want her personal safety to be part of the risk, especially considering the gruesome tale of the deadly Delhi gang rape that made headlines around the world one year ago this week.

Mittal, who earned her undergraduate degree and master’s degree in computer science at Stanford University in California, and was an intern at Facebook and Microsoft, was apprehensive about returning to the city, now that it was dubbed “India’s rape capital,” so she signed up for self-defence classes.

“I was here in Delhi in December 2012 for my winter vacation when (the rape) happened. So I was tracking it 24×7 when I was here, and even when I went back to the U.S. in January when my vacations had ended,” said Riddhi, 23, who lives with her parents in South Delhi’s New Friends Colony.

The idea of altering her daily life in a way that forced her to mostly stay indoors to avoid “getting into danger” didn’t appeal to her. She signed up for a course at “Krav Maga India” and started taking classes at the centre’s location in the posh Saket suburb.

“It has helped me a lot because it has trained me how to best defend myself in a situation of crisis. I can kick, punch, scratch—do whatever I can to save myself with confidence. I can actually dare someone to try and hurt me now,” she said.

Delhi gang rape sentencing: reactions from people on the street

By Aditya Kalra and Arnika Thakur

All four men convicted of raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi were sentenced to death on Friday.

The India Insight team spoke to people outside the Saket court complex in New Delhi. Here are edited excerpts from conversations:

Ashok Gupta, 48, street vendor

We are so happy. We have been protesting at Jantar Mantar, at India Gate, and we have waited for so long. This should have happened long ago. I think this will instil fear in people. And they will think before they commit any crime against women.

Reactions on Twitter to the Delhi gang rape sentencing

All four men convicted of raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi were sentenced to death on Friday. Here is a compilation of politicians and other celebrities reacting on Twitter:

Sushma Swaraj, BJP MP
I welcome the judgement in Delhi gang rape case. This will serve as a deterrent for such offences.

Naveen Jindal, Congress MP
Justice has been served. Nirbhaya, we all hope you rest in peace. You have changed India, you are everyones daughter.

Delhi rape victim’s parents hold firm in desire for death penalty

The family of the trainee physiotherapist who was gang-raped in Delhi last December received a new house and 3.5 million rupees (about $54,000) in compensation for their daughter’s torture and death. It’s a bounty they would rather forgo. They want their daughter’s killers dead.

“Earlier, we used to be happy with whatever little we earned,” the victim’s mother told Reuters in an interview on Sunday. “The difference now is that despite having everything, our eyes are wet all the time.”

“When we go out and see other girls smile and giggle, we think our daughter would have also smiled like this, giggled like this; those would have been such wonderful moments. It pains us deeply when we think about that,” said the victim’s father.

As India gang rape trial ends, a debate over what has changed

The serial rapist stalks her for days. Eventually he breaks into her home when she is alone and tries to rape her at knifepoint. But she somehow manages to overpower and trap him.

Now, with the help of her two housemates, she has to decide what to do. Kill him and bury him in the garden? Or call the police, who are known to be insensitive and may let him off?

The plot is from “Kill the Rapist?” – a provocative new Bollywood thriller which aims to embolden Indian women to report sexual assaults – and to deter potential rapists by making them “shiver with fear before even thinking of rape” the film’s Facebook page says.

Women still feel unsafe in India’s rape capital

Assurances from the police and a new anti-rape law have done little to make the streets of New Delhi safer for women, especially for those using public transport, interviews conducted by the Reuters India Insight team show.

The December incident, in which a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist died two weeks after she was gang-raped in a moving bus, raised questions over women’s safety in India and sparked debate over how men treat women all over the country.

A teenager has been sentenced to three years in juvenile detention and a court is expected to announce its verdict on the four adults accused of the crime on Tuesday. (Update: Four men convicted and sentenced to death)

Women and New Delhi: the views of travellers

By Aditya Kalra and Anuja Jaiman

Assurances from the police and a new anti-rape law have done little to make the streets of New Delhi safer for women, especially for those using public transport, interviews conducted by the India Insight team show.

The India Insight team travelled in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses and Delhi Metro trains and spoke to commuters.

Here are edited excerpts from conversations:

Farhana Ahmed, 22, student; travelling in a bus
I only feel safe travelling by bus in the day time because it’s crowded and there are less chances of being in trouble. I prefer not to board a bus after five in the evening. Whenever we go out after 9 p.m., we have experienced eve-teasing. I think it’s better not to wear dresses at night.

Timeline of events: The Delhi gang rape case

In December last year, a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist died two weeks after she was gang-raped and mutilated in a moving bus in Delhi, raising questions over women’s safety in the capital and sparking debates over their treatment in India.

Here is a timeline of key events in the case:

December 16:  A 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist is beaten, raped for almost an hour and thrown out of a moving bus in New Delhi by six people. Her male friend, a software engineer, is beaten with a metal rod.

December 17-22: The woman remains in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. Police arrest suspects. Hundreds of students and activists block roads in Delhi and march to the president’s palace, breaking through police barricades. Police use batons, tear gas and water cannon to turn back protestors, who demand the death penalty for the accused and safety assurances for women.

from The Human Impact:

How old is old enough to be jailed for gang rape and murder?

The crime was horrific, the case shocking, and the trial long. Yet when the much anticipated first verdict in the high-profile Delhi gang rape case was pronounced in India over the weekend, there was no jubilation, just outrage.

Found guilty of the gang rape and murder of a student on a bus in December, the teenager - one of six accused - was sentenced to three years in a juvenile home, sparking anger and debate over whether India is too soft on its young offenders. Four adult defendants are on trial in a separate fast-track court. One of the accused committed suicide in jail.

The first reaction came from the parents of the dead 23-year-old student, who was beaten, tortured with an iron rod and raped on the night of Dec. 16 before being dumped on a roadside in the capital.

Mumbai blames lingerie-clad mannequins for sex crimes

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

You can’t blame it on illiteracy or poor policing. Or patriarchal mindsets in India.

It’s the fault of the racy mannequins haunting Mumbai’s lingerie stores, seducing passers-by and turning them into sex offenders. At least that’s what the city’s municipal corporation would have you believe.

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