(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)
An increasingly globalized city that has grown indiscriminately, a metropolis where inequality festers, and an urban sprawl blind to the needs of the poor. Mumbai is where a twentysomething photojournalist was gang-raped by five men this month, shattering perceptions that it is India’s safest city for women.
Sociologists and historians say this was not an isolated incident, and warn of more attacks. They cite a growing class divide and pockets of uneven growth as factors linked to crimes against women, who are often victims of socially sanctioned oppression.
“When you see huge gleaming towers coming up in your neighbourhood and you are left with absolutely nothing, you are bound to feel resentment that will manifest itself,” said author and historian Gyan Prakash.
The men who raped the photojournalist lived in slums, and media reports say that they have raped before.
The crime scene was a deserted mill, a symbol of Mumbai’s changing social fabric, one that used to employ thousands of immigrants but was abandoned after a strike forced the owners to shut it.