Rajat Sharma

Strong law enforcement and political will can stop gruesome crimes against women

akb0612 In the Uttar Pradesh town of Unnao, on Thursday morning, five men, including two alleged rapists, stabbed a 23-year-old girl repeatedly, poured petrol and set her on fire in one of the several horrific crimes in recent times.

The girl had been gang raped on December 12, 2018, and she was on her way to take a train to Rae Bareli to meet her lawyers when the rapists pounced on her. One of the rapists who attacked her, Shivam Trivedi, was released on bail by the Allahabad high court a few days ago.

As national outrage swept the nation, the rape survivor was brought to Lucknow, and from there to Delhi in an air ambulance. She had suffered 90 per cent burns, as she ran in a ball of flames, screaming for help, when an eyewitness rang up the police.

This Unnao incident occurred close on the heels of the infamous incident in Hyderabad, when a lady veterinary doctor was gang raped and then burnt to death by four men causing nationwide outrage. All the four accused were arrested, and on Friday morning, they were killed in an encounter with Hyderabad police, according to latest reports.

The Unnao girl is now battling for her life in Delhi’s Safdarjang Hospital. She had filed a rape complaint against the main accused, Shivam Trivedi. The local police took her complaint but ultimately filed an FIR on March 4 this year, after a Rae Bareli court’s order. The main accused Shivam surrendered in court on September 19, and on November 25, he got bail from the Allahabad High Court. The horrific act was perpetrated ten days later, on December 5.

I am narrating the details only to show the glaring lapses in our law enforcement system. This horrific act could have been easily avoided. The rape survivor should have been provided police security because the rapists were out on bail. Clearly they were out to take revenge on the rape survivor. But the system chose to keep its eyes shut.

Politicians of different hues, while condemning the incident, blamed their political rivals. Some blamed the UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, some others took the opportunity to blame our PM, and one BJP minister in UP went to the extent to say that even ‘Ram Rajya’ was not 100 per cent crime free.

Until and unless the entire political spectrum, the bureaucracy, the police and judiciary come on the same page, our daughters will continue to remain insecure. Even if we enact stringent laws providing for death sentence to rapists and set up fast track courts, the situation cannot change unless there is an overall change in our mindset.

We have to overhaul our system, make our law enforcement system strong and change the mindset of our politicians. Only these measures can open up a way to provide safety to our daughters. The Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday announced that Rs 100 crore from Nirbhaya fund would be spent to set up “women help desks” in each of the police stations, so that the women’s safety concerns can be addressed.

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