Delhi rape reflects alarming trend in Ind: New York Times

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New Delhi, Dec 30: The Delhi gang-rape "reflects an alarming trend in India, which basks in its success as a growing business and technological mecca but tolerates shocking abuse of women", according to the New York Times.

In its editorial, the newspaper stressed that "India, a rising economic power and the world's largest democracy, can never reach its full potential if half its population lives in fear of unspeakable violence."

Pointing out that the brutal rape of the 23-year-old medical student "has cast a cold light on how badly India treats its women", the New York Times made the pertinent observation that "anguished cries against sexual violence in Indian society have broadened into angry condemnations of a government whose response has seemed tone deaf and, at times, incompetent."

Candlelight Vigil

The editorial mentioned that "Rape cases have increased at an alarming rate, roughly 25 percent in six years. New Delhi recorded 572 rapes in 2011; that total is up 17 percent this year."

Since data shows that two Indian women are raped every hour, the Washington Post described the Delhi case as "a particularly gruesome example of a widespread problem".

European dailies too extensively covered the unprecedented reaction to the Dec 16 incident that sent shock waves across the second most populous country in the world.

"Sexual harassment - known locally as "Eve-teasing" - is endemic in India. The belief that women are responsible for sexual assault is widespread. This year a series of rapes in rural areas in the state of Haryana, which is adjacent to Delhi, led to suggestions from politicians and community leaders that much sexual violence was consensual. Investigations have revealed similar attitudes among the police," the Guardian said.

"Women who report rapes are repeatedly ignored or even harassed themselves," the British daily added.

Referring to the widespread grief after the gang-rape victim breathed her last at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore yesterday, the French daily Le Monde noted: "New Delhi roars of emotion and anger. The crowds are out in the street, candle in hand, to honor the victim or the more virulent call for hanging attackers."

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