ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Crime and Safety

Women will feel safe when the lawlessness of the powerful ceases.

Once again, the same question is being asked: how could this happen? The rape of a 22-year-old woman journalist by five men in central Mumbai on 22 August has stirred up many of the same issues that were discussed after the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi in December last year. This time the gang rape occurred in the early hours of the evening, near a busy railway station (although the site of the crime, the derelict Shakti Mills compound, is desolate). The woman was on a professional assignment with a male colleague in a part of Mumbai that is not remote and in a city with the reputation of being “safe” for women.

Despite the horrific assault, the young woman was conscious and had the courage to immediately report the crime. With her colleague, she described in detail what the assailants looked like and within days all five were picked up. Since then, the five suspects have admitted that they had previously raped a ragpicker and sex worker and molested a woman who had ventured into the area with her male friend. No one reported the crime. Hence, they presumed they would get away this time too. Clearly, even habitual offenders can be confident that crimes do not necessarily lead to punishment in this country.

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