More than a year after the infamous gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in New Delhi grabbed major international headlines, jostling the Indian government for prompt action, Indians remain concerned about the problem of rape in their country and feel that the criminal justice system dealing with the issue is inadequate.
A national poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, between 7 December 2013 and 12 January 2014 and published on 22 April 2014, shows that nine in 10 Indians agree that rape is a "very big problem" in the country. Also, roughly eight in 10 (around 82 percent) feel the problem is only growing everyday.
Further, nearly three in four Indian (74%) are of the opinion that the laws in the country are too lax, when it comes to punishing people in rape cases. About 78 percent of the Indian population says that it is the fault of the police for not being strict enough while investigating such cases.
Ever since the New Delhi assault took place (December 2012), cases of rape in India has only continued to grow and has relentlessly grabbed national and international attention - a fact that has generated a widespread concern, regarding the safety of women in every part of the country.
Three men were given death penalty early this month for the gang rape of a photojournalist in Mumbai in August 2013. A very high-profile assault that took place in January in West Bengal shocked the entire world, where villagers punished a girl - for having relationship with a man from outside her community - by gang raping her.
The "Verma Committee" that was appointed in the aftermath of the Delhi gang rape suggested many reforms to the current criminal code, dealing with cases of sexual assault. Yet, the public largely remains dissatisfied with the current laws regarding the ever-increasing pandemic of rape cases, as well as the way police handles them.
The Pew Research Center poll also notes that the concern about rape in the country cuts across gender lines. Nearly as many men (91 percent) as women (89 percent) say that rape is a very big issue in India. Also, nearly as many people in India's cities and villages think the problem is growing.