A mob vandalized a police station in west Delhi this week after a woman accused five policemen of raping her in a police station.This is not the first time enforcers of the law have been accused of rape.In 2005, a 16-year-old girl was raped by a drunk constable in south Mumbai in the infamous Marine Drive rape case.A year later, another police constable was accused of raping a slum dweller in Karnal.Data from the National Crimes Record Bureau shows courts tried 132 policemen for custodial rape in 2002 but only four were convicted.Does this mean women who seek the help of the law are better off not reporting crimes committed against them?Some amendments were made to the Code of Criminal Procedure Act in 2005 to prevent incidents of custodial rape.For example, the Act prohibits the arrest of women after sunset and before sunrise except in exceptional circumstances.But how many women know about their rights? And are steps like this enough?ALSO READ: Surviving as a woman in urban India
A spate of attacks on Indian students in Melbourne and Sydney has seen the Indian media accuse Australia of being a racist nation.Newspaper articles warning of a culture of “curry bashings” in Australia have sparked off debate and people around the world have spoken out against the attacks in online forums.Some insist the majority of attacks may have been purely criminal.As an Indian studying in the U.S. for the past three years, I am yet to come across any instance of Indians being targeted on the basis of their race.I have never heard my American friends say anything against Indians or students of any other nationality.Does that mean Indians are safer in New York than in Melbourne?The attacks on Indians did take place in Australia, but then they could have happened anywhere.Even in India, there are cases of what some may call racial bias. In fact, there is a debate on whether discrimination on the basis of caste is the same as racial discrimination.While the attacks in Australia are wrong, unjust and unfair — some say it’s difficult to classify them as racist, others feel the numbers are too high for them to be random acts of violence.Even those who think the attacks were race-based blame the global economic slowdown.”Racist outrages are an expression of a deeper malaise,” Sitaram Yechury, a communist party leader, wrote in his party organ — “People’s Democracy” — this month.”The Australian Prime Minister has declared, for the first time, that the economy has moved into a state of recession,” Yechury said.In his Business Week blog, Mehul Srivastava agrees that not all of it is “simple racism”.“It’s anger and resentment tinged by economic envy and by anxiety over their own financial conditions.”Some 93,000 Indian students study in Australia. Last week, hundreds of them marched through Sydney calling for more action by authorities to protect their rights.On Wednesday, a public interest petition was filed in the Supreme Court urging the Indian government to engage in pro-active diplomacy to prevent similar incidents.Now it looks like even Bollywood is taking up cudgels on the students’ behalf. Filmmaker Mohit Suri has announced he’s scripting a movie based on the attacks in Australia.What do you think? Are Indians in Australia being preyed on by petty criminals? Or are these racist attacks?.