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India’s Police Neglectful of Rape Victims

Poorly handled recent rape and assault incidents in India have left people wondering just how corrupt and insensitive the Indian police forces are in regards to the treatment of women.

It was 8 pm, on May 27th, when two cousins, a 12-year-old and 14-year-old, went outside to use the bathroom, as they did not have a bathroom in their northern Indian home. Suddenly, the uncle of one of the girls heard the two screaming, and rushed outside to see four men dragging his daughter and niece away. When demanding the men return the girls, a suspect held him at gunpoint and commanded that he leave. The children were raped and hung from a mango tree about 1 kilometer away.

Sohan Lal, a father to one of the girls, unaware of the fate of his abducted daughter and niece, went to a police station the next day to inquire about the search. Upon his arrival, the officers on duty mocked him, asking him of his caste, or position in Indian society. They called him “filthy” and a “street dog,” among other insults, and ripped up his complaint, ordering him to come back another time. The man would not let up and continued to beg for help. Hours later, he was informed of the girls’ fate.

In order to avoid a suicide ruling, villagers from six surrounding towns contributed in a silent protest, guarded the small girls’ bodies. These individuals preventing the removal of the bodies for up to 12 hours, until the suspects were taken into custody.

The crushed father has “no faith left in the police” who have left him with “nothing but grief.”

“This is a case that has disgusted people because of the brutality of what they did but also because it highlights how the police treat people. Generally in India the police look down on the poor or those from a lower social status,” states Naresh Saxena, advisor for the United Nations on Indian governance and former senior government official in the state of the attack, Uttar Pradesh.

This horrific incident demonstrates the marginalization of both women and those of lower socioeconomic statuses in India. In a police force comprised of less than 5% women, according to data from the ministry of home affairs in India, the insensitivity and unjust treatment of abused women has far surpassed startling.

After this incident, and another this past week where a woman was gang raped, strangled, and had acid pour on her face, Bharatiya Janata Party protestors gathered outside the Chief Minister’s house in the state capital, Lucknow, to demand better treatment and greater action in regards to women’s safety. Police forces met the protests by firing water cannons.






Photo: AP

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