New Delhi, May 21: There was an outrage across the nation against the five-year girl's rape following her abduction on April 15 and sexual assault for a couple of days by her neighbour in east Delhi. And everything else followed. People got angry, but soon enough, the anger ran out.
Between then and now, there have been several reports in the press about rape, assault and murder incidents. Are we waiting for one more brutal incident to be the next big one, to show our anger and create an uproar?
Numb to the incidents?
In an incident today, another five-year-old girl was raped by a 16-year-old juvenile boy in Bikaner.
Five-year-old girl raped and killed in Ranchi.
Six-year-old girl assaulted in Delhi.
Ten-year-old girl raped, then locked in jail.
And it goes on!
Doesn't sound to shocking. Not anymore. Every morning, glancing through the dailies or news channels, hearing the reports on how innocent minor girls are being raped, we no more feel an ache in our hearts. We no more find rage and anger bursting in our minds. We see it as just another news story which has become a part and parcel of our daily routine.
But the numbers might manage to shake your feet. According to National Crimes Record Bureau statistics, a total of 48,338 child rape cases was recorded from 2001 to 2011 and India saw an increase of 336% of child rape cases from 2001 (2,113 cases) to 2011 (7,112 cases).
It would not be an understatement to say that these number are only the tip of the iceberg as the large majority of child rape cases are not reported to the police while children regularly become victims of other forms of sexual assault too.
And if we go state-wise, Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of child rape cases with 9,465 cases from 2011 to 2011; followed by Maharashtra with 6,868 cases, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 5,949 cases and Andhra Pradesh with 3,977 cases.
Out of the child rape cases reported, a startling number of them take place in juvenile justice homes established under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
"It will not be an understatement to state that juvenile justice homes, established to provide care and protection as well as re-integration, rehabilitation and restoration of the juveniles in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, have become India's hell holes where inmates are subjected to sexual assault and exploitation, torture and ill treatment apart from being forced to live in inhuman conditions," said Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.
Highlighting the point, he further added, "The girls remain the most vulnerable. It matters little whether the juvenile justice homes are situated in the capital Delhi or in the mofussil towns."
In the case of government-run juvenile justice homes, the perpetrators were mostly staffs including the caretakers, security guards, cooks and other Class IV employees, and the senior inmates.
The unanswered question - How to stop?
There has been much hoo-haa about what is the solution to prevent such incidents from happening. What is the solution?
For some, it is much about the security. Police needs to be sensitised about the issue rather than trying to bribe poor parents into hiding the issue. In a country where people, including the police, are busy blaming the victim, justice is surely denied.
For some others, it's all in the mind. The mindset of people, towards people, need to change. Tehelka quoted Gautam Bhan, queer activist, academic and consultant, saying, "Men are raised in our society to think that we are men because we demand, we take, we win, we conquer." This is the attitude that needs to change.
Justice delayed is justice denied. There is a dire need for fast-track courts to be set up across country for speedy decisions in these cases.
After all, the perpetrator needs to know that he cannot get away with ANYTHING of this sort!