Posted by Agnivo Niyogi
Another high-profile rape case in Delhi has shook the country’s conscience. Two years ago on December 16, India was shamed and numbed by a horrific incident in Saket. History repeated itself two years later.
While most of Twitter was occupied with a debate on banning a private cab service, my mind was thinking something different. The rape narrative in the Indian media is extremely sensationalist, insensitive, reporting is skewed and often propagandist. I want to give three examples:
i. The much publicised ‘Gede sexual assualt’ case was chargesheeted within 17 days and within 10 months of the incident; the culprits were given the judgement of being hanged by the court.
ii. In the case of ‘Madhyamgram rape incident’, within 10 months the process of conviction was completed and 20 years of jail term was pronounced by the court.
iii. In the ‘Labhpur gangrape’, chargesheet was filed with efficiency and within 10 months, the process of conviction is complete and culprits have been sentenced to life imprisonment.
In other cases reported from Malda, South 24 Parganas & Birbhum, speedy justice has been delivered within 7-14 months of the occurrence of such horrific incidents.
Yet, few months back, the headline of Bengal’s biggest (as of now) vernacular daily screamed ‘Maharashtra beats Bengal in sentencing rapists’. Is rape a competitive sport for them now? Just because Shakti Mills incident was dealt with alacrity by the Maharashtra Government, that speaks for all cases in courts in that State?
The newspaper specifically referred to the two infamous cases – Park Street and Kamduni – while citing the State’s slow justice process. Agreed that the two cases have been delayed for long. But then, unlike other cases where justice is served speedily, these cases were highly politicised by opportunist politicians of the Bengal Opposition. Specially in Kamduni, the family of the victim even accused the “protibadi mancha” of unnecessarily meddling.
I will not let my blog be a propaganda tool for useless political rhetoric. Here are some hardcore statistics on this issue:
- As per 2013 NCRB data, Kolkata has recorded the minimum rate of rapes per lakh woman.
- The rate of rapes per lakh women in Kolkata is 1.10, which is much lower than other metros the rates per lakh women are – Delhi (19.02), Mumbai (4.59) and even much below the national average of (6.39).
- Very recently, Kolkata has been awarded the ‘Best City in Crime and Safety’ by India Today group.
- West Bengal has already opened 65 all women Police Stations and many more are in the process of rolling out.
Despite the Centre’s decision to withdraw financial support for fast track courts, West Bengal has continued with many fast track courts to ensure that speedy justice is delivered. In order to extend the facility of speedy trials, 88 fast track courts, 45 courts for woman have either been set up of notified.
Although the NCRB data for 2013 is now in public domain, media loves to quote 2012 data as that shows a spurt in reported crimes against women in the State (although the increase can be explained with better awareness among women. Those who were earlier afraid to report a crime are doing so freely under the new Bengal Government).
This will probably not find mention in the media, as the supari journalists with vested interests only like to discredit and malign the State. But reality and truth shall always prevail.