New Delhi: “Without police and judicial reform, the December 16 rape convictions may remain a unique result of public outrage. Apne Aap Women Worldwide is against the death sentence, both in principle and because the severity of punishment will not deter rapist. It is the sureness of punishment that will have a bigger impact.
Normally, rape cases take six to eight years to come to trial in India. There are more than 90,000 rape cases pending trial. For those that come to trial, the conviction rate is below four percent. In fact, the same judge, who has convicted the rapists this time, has acquitted charged rapists in all the other 32 rape cases that he has tried!
Imagine the suffering contained in those statistics.
The collusion between the police and judiciary is what creates the culture of impunity in which rape thrives in India. And that is why, in spite of stricter law, sexual assaults continue unabated.
For instance, we have yet to find out what punishment has been meted out to the two policemen patrolling the area at the time of the December rape, where the unlicensed driver was driving a public bus during unlicensed hours. Is it true, as rumored , that this bus was a mobile brothel in off duty hours and the unsuspecting victim boarded what she thought was a real bus? How did an unlicensed bus that was regularly picking up unsuspecting passengers and targeting girls operate in this area for so long?
Or what has happened to the police on duty in Tihar jail, India’s maximum-security prison, when the prime suspect, Ram Singh ‘committed suicide’? Was that the elimination of a witness to police culpability?
Despite the huge media scrutiny and public pressure, the names of policemen on duty in the area at the time of the rape were not revealed until the Delhi High Court issued a direct threat. The same thing happened last month in the case of a five-year-old girl who was raped in a Delhi slum. The police had offered hush money to the family if they did not file a complaint. Three officers were suspended but no further action was taken against them. The city court has asked the Delhi police to submit a report on action only under pressure from an activist.
Apne Aap Women Worldwide asks for all rape cases to be fast-tracked, and police and judicial accountability instituted for acts of commission and omission in crimes against females. A superior officer should be presumed complicit if disciplinary action is not taken against a subordinate officer for an act of commission or omission.”