Finally, the impending disaster struck which shattered the whole nation during the fag-end of bygone year. Despite all hopes and efforts, the brave girl, who was brutally gang-raped in Delhi recently, finally succumbed to her injuries. After this blood-curdling incident, politicians of this country are muddled how to tackle the agitation of seething protestors who took to the streets without having a face to lead them. Politicians are well aware that their assurances are ineffective to ease amber-red anger of people, who are clamouring for a strong and effective law to ensure safety of the women as well as tightening the laws in order to punish the perpetrators of rape. Notably, the ruling establishment has used police force to control the angry people. How can the police be allowed to do this? Hearing the barbarism unleashed on the girl, people have goosebumps and safety valve their patience has erupted across the nation. Now there is a talk that every possible effort would be put to overhaul the police department and laws for safety of women, but it is crystal clear that that the politicians are known for playing only lip-services and that’s why people are reluctant to buy their words.

It cannot be overlooked that most of the rape incidents remained veiled due to the fear of inviting social stigma. Unfortunately, as the laws regarding rape cases abound with loopholes, most of the rape victims are deeply cynical about getting justice if they approach to the police.  The methods of police investigation in this connection are also found to be atrocious for the rape victims, first getting outrageous owing to attitude of law enforcement agency and secondly undergoing the labyrinth of legal proceedings.

Following public outrage over Delhi gang rape incident, the government appointed a committee to amend the law on rape cases. This committee will submit its report in a month. A commission has also been appointed to investigate into the incident. Now the question arises that why the government did not care to form such committees and commissions earlier. Outburst of public anger after Delhi rape incident when almost whole nation took to the streets was a result of long simmering discontent. Our policy makers were well aware of the lacunas in the police department as well as the existing laws, but they take botheration when they confront with looming threat to their political positions. All the assurances given by the Centre to calm down the public anger actually appear nothing more than rhetoric. The Prime Minister, first in his address to the nation and later in the NDC meet, talked about giving top priority to women’s safety, but the government would have hardly cared for taking effective steps for women’s safety, if the Delhi gang rape incident had not taken place. It is also important to underline that why the government has shown slackness towards its responsibilities to ensure safety and security of common people especially of women. After all who is preventing the Centre and state governments from working on police reform? As far as the police reform is concerned, it is a well known fact that the issue has been pending for long as no government seems to be prepared to relinquish their rights to use police forces for their political needs. It is profound irony that despite declining performance of the security apparatus, a large section of police force is engaged with giving security cover to VIPs.

If political class continues to overlook the need to revamp the working style of the police department, the assurances being given by them to improve safety of people will prove futile. Police departments in almost all states are understaffed, but it seems that our policy makers would ever take concrete step in this regard. Central and state governments cannot be unmindful of the fact that their lackadaisical attitude towards security front is bound to impact development. In order to ensure development, strong and effective machinery is required to maintain law and order that makes people feel more safe and secure.

Everyone is aware of the trauma faced by a rape victim in the society. It becomes too difficult for the victim and her kin to face the society. The problem is getting worse because ethical values are fast getting eroded in the society in the name of modernity. Moreover, no initiative is being taken in the society to stop the decline in moral values. Undoubtedly, our political leaders are responsible to lead the nation in the right direction, but the society cannot shrug off its responsibility. Sadly, our educational system is also not ready to focus on it. Atrocities on women are being committed by men for generations. There are lots of people having lecherous mentality who consider women as object for entertainment. Rise in such activities is really a matter of serious concern. Only this mentality is responsible for the growing sense of insecurity among women in all parts of the world. In India, the shoddiness of police departments and flaws in laws are enhancing this insecurity among our women.

Clearly, deformities have gripped the foundation of our society besides the law machinery and the police force. The sense of insecurity among our women and children should not be treated as mere law and order problem. While police and effective laws can check the activities of those who are posing menace to the security of women but they cannot change the mindset of people. For the past sometime, it is being seen that even our politicians begin to preach morality to women when such incidents take place. Women have the full right to live the way they want. Moreover, it is imperative that men change their mindset towards women that is the sole reason behind such heinous incidents.  

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on December 30, 2012 translated by the English Editorial. The author is Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)