| A policeman at the Siri Fort parking lot, a day after the rape. Picture by Rajesh Kumar
New Delhi, Oct. 15: Delhi, which was always known to be unsafe for women, is getting worse than ever.
“Twenty-six rape cases were registered in Delhi in August alone and all in the span of one fortnight. Among all the metros in the country, Delhi registers the highest incidence of rape with a 15 per cent growth over the last couple of years,” said Brinda Karat, the general secretary of the All-India Democratic Women’s Association.
Before the capital could come to terms with the news of the President’s guards raping a college student in a park, an embassy official was abducted and raped in a public place last night.
“Delhi is decidedly the most unsafe place in the country,” said Karat. She attributes the rising incidents to “easy access to sexual titillation and a proliferation of market culture”.
Police claim that 70 per cent of rape cases are committed by persons known to the victims. “This is highly misleading,” said Karat.
Indira Jaisingh, a senior advocate, argues that the violence is growing because the status of women is falling by the day not just in the capital but throughout the country. “There is a strange acceptance of violence both within and outside the family. There is a tendency to portray women as the culprits,” said Jaisingh. Delhi, she adds, has become a rapacious society. “It wants to grab everything,” she said. “If the country cannot have basic respect towards women, there is no point shouting hoarse over rape.”
Jyotsna Chatterjee of Joint Women’s Programme said: “The conviction rate for rapists is abysmally low all through the country and particularly in Delhi. In most cases, we do not know what is happening to those getting caught — whether they are being let off on bail or not.”
Chatterjee said it is not just in Delhi that crime against women is rising. “It is increasing everywhere — even in Calcutta. Delhi, however, has the worst profile.” Public empathy for women is lowest in Delhi, she said.
None of the women activists, however, believes death penalty is a deterrent for rape.
Karat said: “Look at the pathetic rate of conviction now. It will dip further in case there is a death sentence.” Jaisingh and Chatterjee echo her. “Death penalty is not a solution,” iterated the advocate.
All of them had opposed the suggestion of death penalty made by deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani in Parliament.