Last week, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released a startling report on the crime statistics in India in 2016. According to the report, rape cases in the country have increased by 12.4 percent. The report further stated that the cases reported under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, 2012 also increased by a whopping 34.4 percent.
While the report paints an iniquitous and tragic picture of the condition of the society at large, the situation on the ground is no different. Social media is full of reports that provide an unfortunate reinforcement to the NCRB survey. Take a look at some of these heinous crimes:
1) Godman arrested for raping daughter
A self-proclaimed godman was arrested for allegedly raping his daughter in Vasai, which is located 50 Km north of Mumbai. According to a report by The Times of India, the godman sexually abused her for years. He was also responsible for ending her first marriage.
2) 87-year-old man arrested for allegedly raping a minor
An 87-year-old man was arrested for allegedly raping an eight-year-old girl in Narela in Delhi. According to a report by the Quint, the incident took place on December 4 when the man lured the girl to his makeshift barn. He was spotted forcing himself on the girl by a woman who was standing on the terrace of her house. The woman then raised an alarm and the girl was subsequently taken for a medical checkup.
3) Two minors raped in Jhalawar, Rajasthan
A 17-year-old girl and her 14-year-old friend were raped by youths on December 3 in Jhalawar. According to a report by DNA, the two minor girls, who were working as daily wage labourers at a construction site, were raped by two youths working at the same place. The case came to light when the mother of one of the girls filed a complaint with the Mahila police station of Jhalawar district.
4) Two minor students booked for allegedly raping a Class 2 girl
UP police have registered an FIR under the rape and POCSO Act sections against two minor boys of Class 4 and 5 of a Sahibabad school for allegedly raping a Class 2 girl of the same school. According to a report by the Hindustan Times, the accused inserted an object into the victim’s private parts on November 8. The incident came to light when the girl started bleeding from her private parts and her parents had to take her to a gynaecologist who told them about her injuries. The parents then filed a complaint on Sunday, December 3.
5) Youth held for sodomising 5-year-old in Noida
A 19-year-old youth was arrested on Friday, December 1, for allegedly sodomising a 5-year-old boy in Greater Noida. According to a report by The Times of India, the incident took place around 5 PM when the child went out to play with other kids. The youth took him to a secluded place and sodomised him for half an hour. The police have registered a case under Section 377 of IPC and POSCO Act against the accused.
Before that, two teachers from GD Birla Education Centre were arrested under the POSCO Act for sexually assaulting a 4-year-old student in Kolkata. Prior to that, a man was arrested for allegedly abducting and killing an 11-year-old boy in Mumbai.
Our news feeds are cluttered with reports of such disturbing incidents. Whether we choose to ignore them or not, these incidents pose a stark reminder of the existence of our society’s dark side.
The 8-year-old girl from Delhi didn’t get in a cab with unknown men late at night. The 5-year-old boy from Greater Noida wasn’t venturing out in the dark when he was attacked. The Class 2 girl from Sahibabad school wasn’t ‘dressed in a provocative manner’ to incite such a response – then why were these kids sexually assaulted? Why were they subjected to such a cruel fate? And more importantly, what does this say about the state of our society?
To those who blame the victim, the dress or even the timing of such incidents, here’s a question. Who would you blame this time – the innocent child who is yet to see the dark side of the world? Or the accused and the society that blames the victim?
Perhaps, it’s time that we take a long, hard look into the mirror and question ourselves whether the innocence of childhood should be ripped and the soul permanently mangled.