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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/26/20

India's Rape Problem and Legislator Impunity

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Message Arshad M Khan

India's largest quarantine center for mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 patients is in the capital, Delhi. Newly built it accommodates 10,000 patients, and it was here in this teeming mass of people that a 14-year-old girl was raped on July 15.

She went to the bathroom where a 19-year-old man raped her while an accomplice filmed the activity. The BBC report is unclear on what the men were doing in the women's facility or even if these conveniences are segregated for the sexes. The girl told her parents, and the police arrested the two men. That they did not flee following the incident might have some bearing on Indian culture. It is possible they assumed the shame of reporting the rapes was greater than the trauma and she would remain silent.

This is not the only incident in these quarantine centers. A week earlier in Mumbai, a woman was reportedly assaulted in such a center. And in Patna a minor, as in Delhi, was raped in an isolation ward. One can only wonder where the staff were.

India's National Crime Records Bureau reported 33,356 rape cases across the country in 2018. It is the 4th most common crime against women and in 93.9 percent of the cases, the perpetrator is known to the victim. The number of cases work out to a rape somewhere in the country every 15 minutes. Only the most egregious stories make international news like the BBC, and some beggar belief.

A six-year-old child was playing with friends outside her home when she was abducted and assaulted. The attacker then injured her eyes so she would not be able to identify him.

The father of a 15-year-old rape victim and the family were warned by the rapist not to report the incident. When they filed the police report anyway, he shot the father dead. The accused has not been caught.

The five-year-old daughter of a member of the housekeeping staff at the US embassy in Delhi was raped on the embassy grounds. The perpetrator's father is employed there, and he lives with his parents in embassy staff quarters.

Kuldeep Sengar is a member of the state legislative assembly in Uttar Pradesh (Wikipedia). A 17-year-old girl came to him looking for a job. His response was to confine her, where for a week she was raped repeatedly by Mr. Sengar and his accomplices. When she filed the case, he planned a car accident in which the girl's two aunts were killed. She was critically injured but survived. Mr. Sengar has now been sentenced to life in prison.

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Arshad M Khan is a former Professor. Educated at King's College London, Oklahoma State University and the University of Chicago, he has a multidisciplinary background that has frequently informed his research. He was elected a Fellow of the (more...)
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