Friday, 6 October 2017

The Scourge of India: RAPE

India is the seventh-biggest nation in the World in terms of area, and the second-most crowded nation with more than 1.2 billion people living in that nation. For this reason, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that there are a great many women and girls raped in India.  As I see it, these unfortunate women and girls are victims of the scourge of rape as all such victims everywhere.

Section §375 of India’s Penal Code states; A man is said to commit "rape" if he:– (a) penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or (b) inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, the urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or (c) manipulates any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of body of such woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or (d) applies his mouth to the vagina, anus, urethra of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person, under the circumstances falling under any of the following seven descriptions:

Firstly.– Against her will.

Secondly. –Without her consent.

Thirdly. –With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested, in fear of death or of hurt.

Fourthly.–With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.

Fifthly.– With her consent when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome Substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.

Sixthly. –With or without her consent, when she is under eighteen years of age.

Seventhly. –When she is unable to communicate consent.

Explanation 1.– For the purposes of this section, "vagina" shall also include labia majora.

Explanation 2.– Consent means an unequivocal voluntary agreement when the woman by words, gestures or any form of verbal or non-verbal communication, communicates willingness to participate in the specific sexual act;

Provided that a woman who does not physically resist to the act of penetration shall not by the reason only of that fact, be regarded as consenting to the sexual activity. Exceptions being;

1. A medical procedure or intervention shall not constitute rape; 2. Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape

Even after the 2013 reform, marital rape when the wife and husband live together continued not to be a crime in India. Article 376B of the 2013 law made forced sexual intercourse by a man with his wife a crime if she is living separately, whether under a decree of separation or otherwise, punishable with at least a 2-year prison term.

Forced sex by a man on his wife may also be considered a prosecutable domestic violence under other sections of Indian Penal Code, such as Section 498(A) as well as the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005

The crime of sexual assault on a child, that is anyone below the age of eighteen, is further outlined and mandatory punishments described in The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012.

Using a small sample survey, Human Rights Watch projects more than 7,200 minors – 1.6 in 100,000 minors  are raped each year in India. Among these, victims who do report the assaults are alleged to suffer mistreatment and humiliation from the police. Minor girls are trafficked into prostitution in India, thus rape of minors conflates into a lifetime of suffering.[22] Of the countries studied by Maplecrofton, sex trafficking and crime against minors, India was ranked 7th worst.

All sexual acts between the members of the same sex, consensual or forced, remains a crime under Section 377 of Indian penal code, after the 2013 Criminal Law reform, with punishment the same as that of rape

Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. According to the National Crime Records Bureau 2013 annual report, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. Out of these, 24,470 were committed by someone known to the victim (98% of the cases)

Most rapes go unreported because the rape victims fear retaliation and humiliation, both in India and throughout the world .Indian parliamentarians have stated that the rape problem in India is being underestimated because a large number of cases are not reported, even though more victims are increasingly coming out and reporting rape and sexual assaults.[24] According to an estimate from 2014, only 5-6% of rape cases in India are reported to the police. Now I will tell you about two really horrendous rapes that took place in India.

The gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a public bus, on 16th of  December 2012, sparked large protests across the capital, Delhi. Here are the particulars of that crimes committed against her and her boyfriend.

The victims, a 23-year-old woman, Jyoti Singh, and her friend, Awindra Pratap Pandey, were returning home on the night of 16 December 2012 after watching the film Life of Pi in the district of Saket in South Delhi. They boarded an off-duty charter bus at Munirka that was being driven by joyriders at about 9:30 pm local time. There were five men and a youth on the bus, including the driver. One of the perpetrators, a minor, had called for passengers telling them that the bus was going towards their destination.

 Pandey later became suspicious when the bus deviated from its normal route and its doors were shut. When he objected, the group of six criminals taunted the couple, asking what they were doing alone at such a late hour.

During the argument, a scuffle ensued between Pandey and the criminals.  He was beaten, gagged and knocked unconscious with an iron rod. The men then dragged Jyoti to the rear of the bus, beating her with the rod and raping her while the bus driver continued to drive.

Medical reports later said that she suffered serious injuries to her abdomen, intestines and genitals due to the assault, and doctors said that the damage indicated that a blunt object (suspected to be the iron rod) may have been used for penetration. That rod was later described by police as being a rusted, L-shaped implement of the type used as a wheel jack handle.

Doctors found injury marks, including numerous bite marks, all over her body. According to reports, one of the accused men admitted to having seen a rope-like object, assumed to be her intestines, being pulled out of the woman by the other assailants on the bus. Two blood-stained metal rods were retrieved from the bus and medical staff confirmed that that one of them was used for the penetration of the victim’s vagina that caused the massive damage to her genitals, uterus and intestines.  The injuries were so severe.  the victim's intestines had to be surgically removed. She died thirteen days after the attack.

According to police reports Jyoti attempted to fight off her assailants, biting three of the attackers and leaving bite marks on the accused rapists.  After the beatings and rape ended, the attackers threw both victims from the moving bus. Then the bus driver allegedly tried to drive the bus over Jyoti, but she was pulled aside by her male friend. One of the perpetrators later cleaned the vehicle to remove evidence. Police impounded the bus the next day.

The partially clothed victims were found on the road by a passerby at around 11 pm. The passerby called the Delhi Police, who took the couple to the Safdarjung Hospital, where Jyoti was given emergency treatment and placed on mechanical  ventilation.

The following day, there was an uproar in the Indian parliament over the incident. MPs in both houses had set aside their regular business to discuss the case and demanded strict punishment for those who carried out the attack. The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, demanded that "the rapists should be hanged" Thousands of people, who were mostly young, participated in a massive demonstration on December 22 in protest of the crime. The police arrested six men suspected of rape

Police had found and arrested some suspects within 24 hours of the crime. From recordings made by a highway CCTV vehicle, a description of the bus, a white charter bus with a name written on it, was broadcast. Other operators identified it as being contracted by a South Delhi private school. They then traced it and found its driver, Ram Singh. Police obtained sketches of the assailants with the help of the male victim, and used a cell phone stolen from the two victims to find one of the assailants.

Six men were arrested in connection with the incident. They included Ram Singh, the bus driver, and his brother, Mukesh Singh, who were both arrested in Rajasthan. Ram and Mukesh Singh lived in Ravidas camp, a slum in South Delhi. Vinay Sharma, an assistant gym instructor, and Pawan Gupta, a fruit seller, were both arrested in Delhi. A seventeen-year-old juvenile from Badayun, Uttar Pradesh, was arrested at the Anand Vihar terminal in Delhi. The juvenile had only met the others that day. Akshay Thakur, who had come to Delhi seeking employment, was arrested in Aurangabad.

According to reports, the rapists had been eating and drinking together and having a party earlier in the day. Although the charter bus which Ram Singh drove on weekdays was not permitted to pick up public passengers or even to operate in Delhi because of its tinted windows, decided to take it out to have some fun. A few hours before committing the gang rape, the attackers had robbed a carpenter. The carpenter was 35-years old Ram Adhar who boarded the bus which was being driven by Mukesh Singh. The juvenile convict had lured him into the bus saying it was going to Nehru Place. He was then beaten up, robbed of his cellphone and his cash. After robbing him, the group dumped him at the IIT Flyover. Ram reported about the group in the bus robbing him to three police constables Kailash, Ashok and Sandeep who were passing nearby. They however refused to take action saying that the crime scene wasn't under their purview as they were from the Hauz Khas police station and that the victim  would have to report the incident to the Vasant Vihar police station.

Shortly after the attacks, Gupta said that he accepted his guilt and should be hanged. Mukesh Singh, who was placed in Tihar Jail after his arrest, was assaulted by other inmates and was kept in solitary confinement for his own protection.

Ram Singh was presented before the Metropolitan Magistrate on 18 December 2012. He refused to participate in an identification process. Investigation revealed that he had  a history of frequent drinking that resulted in "blinding rage", "bad temper", and quarrels with employers, that had led friends to call him "mental".

All the accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder. One of the accused, Ram Singh, died in police custody from possible suicide on 11 March 2013 in the Tihar Jail. According to some published reports, the police say Ram Singh hanged himself, but defense lawyers and his family suspect he was murdered.

The rest of the accused went on trial in a fast-track court; the prosecution finished presenting its evidence onJuly 8, 2013

On December 21st, the government promised to file the charge sheet quickly and seek the maximum penalty of life imprisonment for the perpetrators.  Following public outrage and a demand for a speedy trial and prosecution, on 24 December, the police promised to file the charge sheet within one week. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs met on December 27, to discuss the issue, and Union Home Secretary R. K. Singh and Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar were summoned to appear before the Committee.

 The Delhi High Court had previously approved the creation of five fast-track courts to try rape and sexual assault cases. The first of the five approved fast-track courts was inaugurated on 2 January 2, 2013 by Altamas KabirChief Justice of India, in  the Saket court complex in South Delhi.

On 21st,  December, the Delhi High Court reprimanded the Delhi police for being "evasive" in a probe status report providing details of officers on patrol duty in the area covered by the bus route. A further court hearing on the matter was scheduled for  January 9.  2013.  The following day, the Delhi Police initiated action against three Hauz Khas  police station personnel for alleged inaction of an alleged robbery committed against the carpenter by the occupants of the bus in which the gang rape and assault occurred. On  December 24, two Assistant Commissioners of Police were suspended for failing to prevent the gang rape incident

The juvenile defendant’s name was Mohammad Afroz and according to some reports. he was also known by his alias “Raju”. He was declared as 17 years and six months old on the day of the crime by the Juvenile Justice Board which relied on his birth certificate and school documents.

On 28 January 2013, the Juvenile Justice Board determined that he would not be tried as an adult. A petition moved by Janata party president, Subramanian Swamy seeking the prosecution of the minor as an adult because of the extremely violent nature of his alleged crime.  The petition was rejected by the Juvenile Justice Board. The minor was tried separately in a juvenile court.

The 17-year-old juvenile, Mohammad Afroz was convicted of rape and murder and given the maximum sentence of three years' imprisonment in a reform facility.

On September 10, 2013, the four remaining adult defendants were found guilty of rape and murder and three days later they were sentenced to death by hanging. On March 13, 2014, the Delhi High Court heard their death sentence case and after hearing appeals against the conviction by the lower Court, the High Court upheld the guilty verdicts and the death sentences. They appealed again and as of yet, no decision has been made. 

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