Four years ago 23-year-old paramedical student, dubbed Nirbhaya, was gang raped and brutally tortured in a bus while returning home with a friend after watching a movie. Those accused raped her and threw the young couple on road naked in the winter night. The heinous crime which shook the entire nation.
Thousands of people revolted on streets against the different forms of violence against women. If reports are to be believed then nothing has changed and many nirbhaya is still being raped.
Incidents of rape in Delhi have steadily increased since the incident, rising from 706 in 2012 to 2199 in 2016. Police attribute this to more women coming forward to lodge complaints after the 2012 incident. But, at the same time, the conviction rate for rape has dropped dramatically. In 2012, the police had secured a 49.25% conviction in rape cases, which fell to 35.69% in 2013 and 34.5% in 2014. Last year, the conviction rate was a mere 29.37%. Not only in percentage terms, there has been a drop even in absolute numbers over the last two years – from 747 out of 2166 cases in 2014 to 645 out of 2199 in 2015.
Senior police officers say most rapes cannot be prevented because they happen in confined environments by those known to the victims. Out of the 2199 rape cases last year, 295 cases were those of incest, friends and family friends were involved in 816 cases and neighbours in 345 cases.
“Figures make us look bad but rape is not a law-and-order problem in Delhi. It is a social problem,” said a senior officer, who asked not to be named.“It is not possible to go inside every house. These days, we register every case, even when we suspect the allegations do not add up. Let the courts deal with it.”
Rishikant, who runs the NGO Shakti Vahini, says one needs to compare the investigation of December 16 gang rape case against the other cases reported everyday. “If police can investigate every case like they did in the 2012 gang rape, things will improve. It was one of the best investigations in rape cases. The magistrate went to hospital to record the young woman’s statement. Police collected scientific evidence. Even the DNA test of the teeth marks was conducted and used as evidence,” he says.