India Insight

Gang rape puts spotlight on India’s rape capital

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

Yet another rape has rattled India. As I read the details, I felt familiar sensations of anger, frustration, helplessness and vulnerability. Sunday’s incident, in which a 23-year-old student in New Delhi was gang raped, assaulted and thrown out of a bus, made the front pages of India’s newspapers and was debated in parliament.

The woman is hospitalised with severe vaginal, abdominal and head injuries. One of those arrested is a 30-year-old driver who ferries school children.

As a single woman living in New Delhi for more than a decade, I find it difficult to come to terms with how vulnerable I feel each time I hear of a rape. or each time I travel by taxi at night.

It forces me to ask questions that I have harboured for years — owing to personal experiences, and plenty from friends and colleagues (almost every woman I have known in India’s rape capital has had a brush with Delhi’s groping and elbowing).

Woman attacked in Assam: what should the press have done?

On the night of July 9, a group of about 20 men groped and stripped a teenaged girl attending a birthday party at a pub in Guwahati.

A local news channel, News Live, whose studio is nearby, recorded the incident and broadcast it. The video went viral on the Internet after the channel posted it on YouTube, shocking the nation. (The original video has been removed from You Tube)

The mob molested the girl for more than 30 minutes until passersby and police rescued her. One of them was a journalist, Mukul Kalita, editor of Assamese-language daily Ajir Asom.

Not so safe on Delhi streets

As a thriving metropolis, New Delhi is taking steps towards becoming a world-class city but the safety of its residents remains a concern — especially if you are a woman.

A Thomson Reuters survey ranks India as the fourth most unsafe place for women in the world. And its capital is no safe haven for its female residents.

But what makes New Delhi so unsafe? Experts differ on whether it’s the deep seated psyche of a male-dominated society, its socio-economic diversity or perhaps both.

Ruchika case: Easy on the policeman?

Ruchika Girhotra, a 14-year-old tennis player, was molested by then Haryana police IG S.P.S. Rathore in Panchkula in 1990.

Three years later, Ruchika killed herself, which her friend and case witness Aradhana attributes to the harassment of Ruchika and her family by those in power.

Nineteen years later, Rathore walks away with six months of rigorous imprisonment and a 1000-rupee fine, reportedly due to his old age and the “prolonged trial”.