At the turn of this year, India has seen another blot on her face when an 23 year old paramedical student was gang raped in a moving bus who finally died on 29th December. The last two weeks of December, 2012 has seen an unprecednted demonstration in New Delhi and other parts of country against gang rape of this paramedical student. Among others, most of the demonstrators were youths who were highly frustated and enraged. Delhi, the capital and seat of power in India has been termed as capital of rape due to frequent rape cases in Delhi. Older generation still remembers Geeta Chopra kidnapping, rape and murder case in late 70s in Delhi that caught the attention of entire country even though the media and specially electronic media was not as strong as it is today. A lot of hue and cry was there in the public at the time of Geeta Chopra case also, but soon all the sentiments, emotions, frustrations and rage vanished with time without making any dent on the system so that could rape cases could be curbe. Though in Geeta Chopra case culprits were hanged , but in so many reported cases the culprit go scot free and that make public are very furious and enraged. Even after capital punishment in few rape cases, the number of rape cases did not come down that sever punishment is not only solution and holistic view is to be taken. Some of the following area that may require improvements to curb rape cases in society are
Social values and response
Policing and governance
One of the root cause of such problems is education. Even after over 6 decades of independence we could not provide education to every child. And whatever education we have provided so far, we have not been able to inculcate value system in our society so that people could be sensitive to pain of others and could develop mutual respect for each other irrespective of gender, caste, religion, and economic status etc .
Apart from school a lot of learning comes from family and society in which we live. There is some problem with prevailing social norms. When something happens wrong with others we do not raise our voices. When it comes to getting our job done done quickly and easly we pay bribe and then cry that there is lot of corruption. Unless and until we nurture and shape our society in such a way that each and every one in society is not only sensitive to his own needs but also sensitive to requirements of others in society, we can not improve the society with any amount of law. My hats off to people of Delhi and other parts of the country especially the young one who are fighting in case for the cause of making our country a safer place for women.
A lot of cases of sexual misbehaviour takes place in public transports like buses, metro and local trains. As far as possible there may separate buses for ladies. There is provision of separate compartments for ladies in metro and local trains. Police verification of drivers and conductors in private buses must be mandatory. Technical solution can also be found for tracking the buses and it should be mandatorily equipped with some sort of alarm so that in case of emergency nearest police station could be alerted. Mobile is very common now a days, there could be 1 or two digit number allocated for quick reporting and seeking rescue. Many of the sexual assults go unreported due to percieved harrasment and embarrasment in police station which is dominated by male as well as getting bad name in society. There must be a separate police station for crime against women which should be 100 % manned by women so that victim should register their complaint without any fear or embarrassment. And it should be responsibility of police station that identity of complainant is not disclosed.
There should be separate fast track courts where, judges, counsel of both plaintiff as well as defendant should be female. Because in many cases defence counsel ask so many undesired embarrassing questions from victim that once again traumatic mental rape starts. Trial should take place in closed room. During hearing no male accept accused should be allowed.
If we resort to some of these reforms, more cases of sexual assault may be reported and quick justice will be delivered. And when more people will be penalised it will put a check on rape cases.
Donation by developed countries, multilateral agencies like UN, World Bank, ADB etc, and international NGOs to least developing and developing countries are very common international developmental activities taken with a view to improve the social and economic conditions of aid receiving country. There are many international non governmental organisations (NGOs) who are really philanthropist in nature, but there are many black sheep also in this business. Some of these dubious international NGOs channel their money with malicious intentions , though it is name of various kind of welfare, cultural and developmental activities. And money of some of these international organisations are used for various purpose right from promoting secessionist group, funding terrorist, promoting political and commercial interest of one or a group of countries, and thwarting many developmental activities in name of environment and displacement of people. Though already mechanism is in place in government to scrutinize the purpose of these funds and credentials of these international NGOs before they flow in the country, but very powerful national counterparts are there who are beneficiaries of these funds and they influence getting it cleared. There is need to reduce the flow of fund from international NGOs and whatever is permitted it should thoroughly examines and screened in the national interest.
Due to economic hardship faced by US, President Obama has indicated a safe and honourable exit fron Afghanistan as US presence in Afghanistan is further aggravating its economic hardship without any economic gain in near future. What would be its implications for Afghanistan neighbouring countries and US is a big question. Afghanistan has been safe sanctuary for a long for Islamic terrorist around the globe that has been controlled to some extent by US action in recent past. Premature exit by US from Afghanistan will be detrimental to the interests of US, neighboring countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan itself. Because, with US exit, feudal forces will again resurrect that will finally lead to more production and trade of opium, concentration of money in few hands, increased alliance between feudal lords and radical Taliban that will finally result in weakening nascent democratic process with high chances of transiting back to previous form of Taliban government. Pragmatic solution of Afghanistan problem has to be seen in background of its history and culture of Afghanistan. Some 50 years back Afghanistan had been adequately progressive compared to many South Asian countries given its geographical conditions. Even if it comes to same level of governance and socioeconomic development as it was in 50s and 60s it can pursuit the path of progress alone. But this will require creation of social and physical infrastructure to support at least 20-30 years to help at least one generation in attaining them proper education, and means of livelihood for masses and at the same time curbing opium production and trade with iron hands. Once the one generation is integrated in economic activities and simultaneously money power of feudal lords from opium are curbed, the chances are quite high that radical elements and terrorist may loose the ground and Afghanistan may emerge a stable and normal country.