UP second to MP with 4,669 rape cases, finds NCRB: Unnao, Chinmayanand cases damning indictment of Adityanath govt

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its latest analysis released for 2017 has reported 4,669 cases of rape in Uttar Pradesh (second to Madhya Pradesh where at least 5,599 rape cases were reported) including 676 cases of gang rape, the highest in the country.

Meena Menon October 27, 2019 16:17:57 IST
UP second to MP with 4,669 rape cases, finds NCRB: Unnao, Chinmayanand cases damning indictment of Adityanath govt
  • The NCRB in its latest analysis released for 2017 has reported 4,669 cases of rape in Uttar Pradesh (second to Madhya Pradesh where at least 5,599 rape cases were reported) including 676 cases of gang rape, the highest in the country

  • After the Unnao rape case, when there has been an attempt to railroad justice, and the victim had to approach the Supreme Court, this is another instance of how law and order in Uttar Pradesh is in disarray

  • Instead of promises to build temples, the government should set up special trial courts and ensure justice for women

  • Police stations must be made accountable and there should be an oversight committee to ensure that rape cases are dealt swiftly so that the survivors are not threatened and harassed

To say that something is rotten in the state of Uttar Pradesh would be massively understating it.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its latest analysis released for 2017 has reported 4,669 cases of rape in Uttar Pradesh (second to Madhya Pradesh where at least 5,599 rape cases were reported) including 676 cases of gang rape, the highest in the country.

Yet, in 2017, chief minister Yogi Adityanath withdrew rape cases against political figures by passing the Uttar Pradesh Criminal Law (Composition of offences and Abatement of Trials) Amendment Bill. The former Union minister of state for internal affairs Swami Chinmayanand from Shahjahanpur was one of the beneficiaries of that law.

A manager, who worked in the ashram of Chinmayanand, filed a rape case against the BJP leader in 2011 which was going to be withdrawn, but for the chief judicial magistrate of Shahjahanpur who in 2018 ruled that the case should continue. The high court had stayed his arrest in this case. The accused, a woman who managed his Mumukshu ashram, said she was held captive and raped for several years, according to reports.

UP second to MP with 4669 rape cases finds NCRB Unnao Chinmayanand cases damning indictment of Adityanath govt

File image of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. PTI

The former minister said it was a false case, and even this September when he was accused of rape by a student from a law college he runs, a counter case has been filed against the victim accusing her of extortion. As a result, both the alleged victim and perpetrator, depending on whose side you are on, are in jail.

The law student said she was raped for a year and sexually exploited, and echoes of the earlier case are evident. The police have filed a case of extortion against her and three men for trying to trap the Swami into giving them a large sum of money. A special investigation team (SIT) is conducting the probe and the next hearing is on 30 October. The police have filed a case under Section 376C of the Indian Penal Code(custodial rape), and wrongful confinement, stalking and criminal intimidation against the Swami.

The rape case came to light after the law student spoke about it in a video. A group of lawyers brought it up in the Supreme Court in August end after which the court constituted the SIT and directed the Allahabad bench of the High Court to monitor the case. After the Unnao rape case, when there has been an attempt to railroad justice, and the victim had to approach the Supreme Court, this is another instance of how law and order in Uttar Pradesh is in disarray. There are other examples which reflect on the shoddy state of affairs in India’s largest state.

A rape victim in Uttar Pradesh would have to think many times over before she files a complaint. This is a situation that prevails in much of the rest of the country as well. Rape survivors are victimised several times  - first for suffering the assault and then daring to report it and more often than not, women are blamed for it. When the Nirbhaya case caused outraged protests in 2012, a young woman in this state was jailed for going to a police station to file a complaint of rape.

It's difficult to be a woman in Uttar Pradesh, it's worse if you are victim of an assault. There is little one can expect by way of justice and the detection rate for rape is not encouraging at 32.2 percent, according to NCRB 2017 report. In the Chinmayanand rape case, the Swami, already a rape accused, who was not even arrested after a serious complaint, there was a tacit support of the state government.

It fell on the law student, therefore, to prove her case and her long disappearance before being traced to Rajasthan by the police are adding ammunition to Chinmayanand's case that she was trying to blackmail him. Little has changed since the 2012 brutal Delhi gangrape case (also known as the Nirbhaya rape case). Despite promises of special courts and speedy justice, very little has altered on the ground.

In the Unnao rape case, the BJP expelled accused MLA Kuldeep Sengar, after much back and forth. Each time women have to find way of making their voices heard and approach the Supreme Court. Imagine the number of cases where the women are unable to fight their assaulters, or even file cases.

Instead of promises to build temples, the government should set up special trial courts and ensure justice for women. Police stations must be made accountable and there should be an oversight committee to ensure that rape cases are dealt swiftly so that the survivors are not threatened and harassed.

The matters in the present cases (Unnao and Chinmayanand) are under investigation and the only relief is that the victim is in New Delhi and the investigation is being monitored by the high court. The fact that women have to look to the apex court for justice each time is a damning indictment of the justice system in Uttar Pradesh.

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