Crimes against women in India continue to escalate despite the government assurances. In just a week, four incidents of sexual violence were reported in Uttar Pradesh that just prove the kind of statistics provided by the National Records Crime Bureau (NRCB) in its annual report.
The NRCB revealed that Uttar Pradesh (UP) recorded the highest number of violent crimes accounting for 12.3 percent of total violent crimes in the country with 33,824 cases during 2012.
The four incidents this week include that of a four-year old girl who was raped and stabbed in Lucknow and of another woman who was set ablaze after being gang-raped.
The most brutal incident is ironically a reminder of Margaret Atwood's The Bind Assassin where virgins are preserved for ritual sacrifice but they have their tongues cut off so that the ritual is not marred by their agonised shrieks.
The girl in Pratapgarh, as well, was about to depose against the accused who had raped her when Lalji abducted her, beat her up and then silenced her shrieks by cutting her tongue off. Lalji was the brother of the accused.
In January, the girl was raped by her fiancé Lavlesh when she went to his house. The girl was due for a statement at court on 24 July when Lalji abducted her the night before he committed the gruesome act.
In another case, a five-year-old girl child was found with multiple injuries on the roadside of the 'posh locality' of Lucknow on 8 July. The minor was missing since the morning and was allegedly raped. Post-mortem revealed that the child was stabbed 50 times by a 'psychopath'.
According to NRCB, Uttar Pradesh scored maximum for the number of rape cases reported by victims up to 10 years of age, amounting to 497 in 2012. The state also reported the highest of 4,966 out of 34,434 cases, of total murder cases in the country.
On 10 July, a sprinter was practising for a cross-country race in a park in Saharanpur, west of UP. "I was practising when they came close to me and passed lewd comments," she told a newspaper daily. They were five men in a car who passed objectionable comments on the athlete and when she opposed them they caught hold of her. The woman, in broad day light, was attacked and dragged along the car for some distance.
Be it Mayawati or Akhilesh Yadav, both the former and current Chief Minister of UP have been unable to curb crimes in the state.
In CM Akhilesh Yadav's home district, Etawah, a young girl was gang-raped and set ablaze by six men on 11 July. The 20-year-old girl was in love with the prime accused and agreed to go to his house as she trusted him. The girl, a resident of Jesarmau village in Etawah district, was allegedly gang-rape by the man and his associates. She is battling for life at a hospital in Saifai with 90 percent burns.
Villagers had alleged that she set herself on fire because a dowry demand had cast a shadow over their marriage. The maximum deaths due to dowry harassments were in UP during 2012, amounting to 224 victims.
Uttar Pradesh is home to more than 971 lakh women, the maximum in any state of India. But it is also becoming home to the worst cases of crime against women.
In its latest report on India, the Human Rights Watch said," India has yet to enact amendments to reform its penal laws to recognize a wide range of sexual offenses. While the central government modified its protocols for handling rape investigations, removing questions on the degrading "two-finger test," the changes still fall short of World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on sexual assault, especially regarding medical treatment for victims."