Why This Sudden Spurt in Rape Cases?

Have we sold our souls to the devil?

Delhi Police Commissioner asks, “Why should I resign? If my resignation can prevent such a depraved action of the society, then I am ready to resign a thousand times.” Pointing out at the reporters, he says, “If wrong news is published in your paper, your editor doesn’t resign.” For this police officer, the buck stops at the lowest rung of the hierarchy. What a shame !


By Raj Kanwar

NEW DELHI: Now that a dozen rape cases were reported one day last week from various parts of the country, the earlier ‘rape a day’ routine has become passé. Most news telecasts daily highlights two or more such cases. Four of the 10 Top News on a channel last week was rape-related. Raping of adult women too has at present become somewhat old fashioned; raping of children and minors is the current flavour. Rape by an individual is also outdated; gang rapes are currently in vogue.

What has happened to us Indians? Have we sold our souls to the Devil? Have we men become so very depraved so as to have lost all sense of proportion or even of elementary decency?

India as a country is already at the bottom rung of the ladder in so many social parameters. If this unending spate of rapes continues unabated, India is certainly destined to achieve the dubious distinction of becoming the country with more rapes per capita.

Why are we men become so nonchalant? Some of the recent rape cases involved inebriated ‘beasts’; however the most other rapes were committed with due deliberation by such ‘beasts’. It is rather humiliating to call these ‘rapists’ as men; they are even worse than the beasts. One has never seen or heard of a male animal raping a female of its own species. It would be somewhat insulting to an animal if we were to use the expression ‘animal instincts’ to describe the baser predilections of men; our animals have better instincts. The latest rape of a five-year old girl-child in Gandhi Nagar, Delhi by two inebriated ‘brutes’ came like the last straw that broke the camel’s back, and brought agitated crowds in thousands onto Delhi main streets. This time the profile of the crowd was very different from the one that had thronged Delhi thoroughfares and landmark places such like Jantar Mantar and India Gate following the rape of a 23-year old paramedic student on 16 December, 2012. The last December’s crowds largely comprised of students and young professionals. The composition last week was primarily of people from lower middle class, living in lesser colonies and even slums. Despite this demographic distinction, the two crowds were equally angry, bold and fearless.


Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar.

 Fuel to the fire

What had added more fuel to the fire was that the victim’s father had earlier reported her daughter as ‘missing’ but without avail. When he later went to the police station to lodge a report after the girl was found badly injured in a nearby house, the inspector concerned pleaded with him with an offer of bribe not to lodge the report or something to that effect. All this had further infuriated the crowds who vociferously demanded the suspension of the police commissioner, and even the resignation of the Home minister. The government’s response to these demands was characteristic; “just sit tight, clasp hands and pray that the storm will blow over on its own.”

The police commissioner Neeraj Kumar was even more obtrusive; he decided to take the bull by the horns and told a hastily-called press conference, “why should I resign? If my resigning will prevent such a depraved action of the society, then I am ready to resign a thousand times.” All this sounded and looked melodramatic. Why “a thousand times”, Mr. Police Commissioner; you just need to resign only once. It was possibly for the first time that a police commissioner has had the temerity to publically rubbish the popular demand for his resignation. At any other time, a more responsible and courageous Home minister would have sacked him for such a public show of defiance.

 Where does the buck stop?

 In fact, this act of bravado by Neeraj Kumar looked more like a preemptive attempt at forestalling any possible action against him by the government. Pray, if not the police commissioner, who else is responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the country’s capital. It is indeed a paramount tragedy that no one in our country is actually held accountable for his acts of commission or omission. In any other country, ‘the buck stops at the top’ is the norm of governance. The late US President Harry Truman had even put a sign on his desk saying that “the buck stops here”. In our own country late Lal Bahadur Shastri had resigned as the Railway minister on moral grounds after a gruesome rail accident. But this high profile police commissioner suffers from the usual bureaucratic trait of ‘arrogance’ to accept culpability for any misdemeanour by his Force. This should be height of ‘impudence’ and he deserves to be suspended instantly for this act of ‘bravado’.

 Are people going mad?

Who are such ‘brutes’ responsible for this ongoing series of rapes that has taken the form of a scourge? By and large, many of them are migrants from distant villages coming from dysfunctional families; they are either barely educated or school dropouts. They do odd jobs in the city, and stay either singly or in small groups with fellow migrants. The other day, two Delhi High Court judges also wondered, “Are people going mad? A five-year old has been raped… some sort of awareness is needed.” The honourable judges also asked both the Home ministry and Delhi Police to find out the ‘root cause’ of the sudden spurt in rape incidents.

“Yes, my Lords, we men have lost whatever sense of proportion or sensitivity we possessed, if ever.” Sociologists and psychologists fear that perhaps every second person has become a psychopath. Many of the rapists have had a prior history of violence or crime, and also suffer from abnormalities of one or of another kind. By and large they don’t have family support. But that is no solace to the victim or her family. Psychologists or sociologists have their own take on these and explain such incidents of sexual violence with their usual mumbo-jumbo. But imagine the trauma that is inflicted on the victim and her family. The 5-year old child was not only raped but her ‘innocence’ too was killed for ever. What a tragedy? She can never live a normal life even if she overcomes the ordeal.

It is unfortunate but nevertheless true that our insensitivity is all-pervasive in many other situations. In a recent road accident in a Jaipur tunnel, a family on motorbike was mowed down by a passing truck, grievously injuring the wife and son of the biker. The man and his 3-year old daughter survived. Hundreds of cars and two wheelers passed that way over the next 20 minutes but not one even stopped to help despite repeated plea by the man. Much later when the police sauntered in, it came casually without even an ambulance. When the critically injured were brought to the hospital, they were already dead. Such cases happen every day in most parts of the country. How insensitive could people become?

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Raj Kanwar is a Dehra Dun based freelance journalist and writes columns on current affairs for local and national newspapers. He is also the author of the official history of ONGC, which is one of the top three companies in India in terms of market capitalization. Kanwar is also associated with World Oil as its Contributing Editor for South Asia.