Unsafest For Women

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Yogi Adityanath’s claim of emancipating and empowering women proves a chimera

THE rise in crimes against women continues unabated in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state. According to official data, 11 rape cases are reported in the state daily. There has not been a single day during the past one week when UP did not make headlines for heinous crimes against women. Last Monday a woman in her 20s was found with grievous injuries on her face and throat in Meerut. Last Friday a teenage girl was allegedly raped by two men in Gorakhpur district, the home district of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The criminals burned her body in places with cigarettes. The following day the media carried reports of a 13-year-old girl raped and killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri district. The girl had gone to relieve herself when the criminals pounced on her and outraged her modesty before killing her. Her body was found in a sugarcane field. Earlier a six-year old girl was raped and brutalized by a man who evaded arrest for more than a week. UP has topped the states in crimes against women for the last three successive years. 

As per the last ‘Crime in India’ report released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), crimes against women have risen by 20 percent between 2016 and 2019 in Uttar Pradesh. The NCRB has gone to dub Uttar Pradesh as the ‘most unsafe state for women.’ The report for the year 2018 released late last year revealed that 59,445 cases of crime against women were reported in Uttar Pradesh. As many as 3,946 rape cases were registered in the state, including that of 1,411 minors. The state government has been unable to stop the rising graph of crimes against women, particularly rape, kidnapping, abduction and domestic violence. The Yogi Adityanath government usually tries to soften public rage by transferring the police officers of the concerned stations whenever cases are highlighted in the media. There is no consistent, sincere and focussed strategy to reduce the number of crimes against women by speedy investigation and prosecution of the accused. The deterrence is missing.

The law enforcement officials of UP are insensitive when it comes to combating crimes against women. Sometimes people also act in an insensitive manner. An example of insensitivity among people was seen in the case of a woman with severe injuries who was found in Meerut. Some men were recording videos of her plight rather than rushing her to the nearest hospital. Though the Supreme Court has ruled that those who rush victims of accidents, violence, etc would not be prosecuted, most people are not aware of the ruling or do not do it even if they are aware of it. People also do not rush victims because of their lack of faith in how the law enforcement officials would treat them.

Every time a heinous crime against women is committed, the police in Uttar Pradesh declare that they have invoked the most stringent provisions in law against the culprits as if to show that they were doing a favour to the victims of the crimes. Rather than providing lip service, the police in UP should take the cases registered against criminals to a logical end. Since Yogi Adityanath took over, the state has witnessed a high rise in police encounters in which scores of alleged criminals have been liquidated. However, encounters have failed to serve as a deterrent to those involved in crimes against women. In case after case of heinous crime against women in UP the nexus of criminals, police and politicians has been proved. In some cases the accused were politicians, against whom the police did not act for a long time. Even the Chief Minister did not press for the ‘most stringent laws’ to be applied or encounters to be done against such politicians. In one case the Supreme Court had to intervene in order to force the state government to act against a rapist politician. Many cases are buried because of patronage enjoyed by criminals. The Yogi government’s claim of introducing a number of policies and programmes for emancipation and empowerment of women sounds false with the appalling number of crimes against women of all ages in the state.