Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)
Outrage after wave of gory crime against women
DELAYED RESPONSE RSS pracharakturnedchief minister Khattar took more than 50 hours to grasp gravity of situation
CHANDIGARH : The Manohar Lal Khattar-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was thumping its chest last Saturday over Haryana’s improved sex ratio when the reports started trickling in about the latest wave of girls being gangraped and then killed.
What has sparked outrage across the state is that RSS pracharak-turned-chief minister Khattar took more than 50 hours to grasp the gravity of the crime.
Finally, on Monday evening the Khattar administration began taking action against the erring cops and the top bureaucrats started assuring people that guilty will be punished.
It is this delayed response — and often nonchalant also — that has been the hallmark of this first-ever BJP government in Haryana after assuming power in October 2014.
The frequency of heinous crime against women is such that even the opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Congress woke up from their slumber to raise the issue on Monday evening despite media reports of the crime on Sunday.
The brutality of the crime (see box), for example, is such that on last Saturday when police recovered the semi-naked body of a 15-year-old Dalit girl from near a canal in Jind’s Budhakhera village, they found a sharp object pushed by her assailants in her private parts after the gangrape, rupturing her liver.
In Faridabad that very evening, a young woman was raped in a moving car after she was abducted while returning home from work.
Yet another case hit the state on Sunday when 11-year-old Dalit girl was found raped and murdered in Panipat. Police say the accused confessed of having raped her corpse.
The arrest of the accused has, however, saved the government from further embarrassment.
Another disturbing trend is that in at least four cases since December last year, the gangrape victims were not only killed but the assailants also mutilated their private parts by thrusting sticks. That’s the savage nature of the cases.
DSP Sandeep Kumar, who is leading the investigation of murder and rape of 11-year-old Panipat girl, said, “The accused were under the influence of liquor when they committed the crime.”Another police official involved in Panipat case investigation said the accused are drug addicts.
ACCOLADES AND BRICKBATS
Despite earning accolades for its campaign and claims about improving the sex ratio (914 girls against 1,000 boys in 2017), the Haryana government continues to earn a bad name when it comes to violence against women.
After the launch of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015, the state government launched a multi-pronged drive to check the skewed sex ratio. The results, the government claims, are encouraging.
But the recent series of gangrapes and killings of girls and tardy response of the state agencies, including the police, indicate that the trend of crime against women reflected in the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics continues to rise dangerously.
For the third year in row, Haryana has recorded the highest rate of gang-rape per 1 lakh population in country, as per the NCRB-2016 data.
Haryana has ranked 6th in crime against women with 9,839 cases.
As many as 1,187 rape cases (11% more than previous year’s 1,070) that included 191 cases of gangrapes were registered. At least 1,172 offenders were known to the victims.
The gangrape rate of Haryana was 1.5 per one lakh female population of the state. Haryana had earned this dubious distinction in 2014 and 2015 as well, with gang-rape rates of 1.9 and 1.6, respectively.
The overall crime against women in Haryana also rose to 9,839 cases in 2016 from 9,511 in 2015. This includes a 7% rise in incidents of dowry deaths and 15% rise in cases of kidnapping.
‘STATE’S IMAGE TARNISHED’
Rani Rampal, Arjuna awardee and Indian women hockey team captain, said the repeated incidents of crime against women have tarnished Haryana’s image.
“People, especially the girls, outside the state have started feeling that the state is unsafe for the girls. While Haryana women are doing exceptionally well — be it sports, education or beauty pageants — the society is treating them as if they are not human. It is very disturbing,” Rani said, demanding exemplary punishment in such cases.
In the wake of rape and murder of a six-year-old girl in Hisar’s Uklana, police had launched a campaign from December 14 to January 15 to deal with the crime against women. But the results are contrary to the police claims.
Professor Ranjana Aggarwal, director Women’s Studies Research Centre, Kurukshetra University, says at the core of crime against women is decline in values and the parents ignoring activities of the sons.
“Parents don’t check the activities of their boys. We don’t ask boys where are they going and what they are doing. This freedom has nudged them towards the wrong path and ultimately towards the crime,” Prof Aggarwal said.
“The need of the hour is to launch an aggressive campaign to sensitise youth on the lines of Beti Bachao campaign that helped in improving sex ratio.”
When contacted, director general of police (DGP) BS Sandhu said, “Yes, we are concerned...It is actually a social problem also.”
The need of the hour is to launch a drive to sensitise youth on the lines of Beti Bachao campaign that helped in improving sex ratio. RANJANA AGGARWAL, director, Women’s Studies Research Centre, KU
These incidents have tarnished Haryana’s image. People, especially girls, outside the state have started feeling that the state is unsafe for the girls. RANI RAMPAL, Indian women hockey team’s captain