The horrifying Delhi gang-rape of December 2012 led to the state promising a host of reforms, including changing criminal laws and creating a “Nirbhaya Fund” for women’s safety.

Less than a decade later and after countless atrocities more against Indian women, many of these promises have proved to be empty. A grim reminder of this was served up on September 29, with the death of a 19-year-old woman from Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district after being gang-raped and subjected to brutal physical assault on September 14 by upper-caste Thakur men.

The “Nirbhaya Fund” is under-utilised: as of December 2019, states had used just 9% of the funds alloted to them. That year, the conviction rate for rape cases was mere 27.8% – even as crimes against women increased by 7% in 2019 from 2018, as per official data released on September 29.

Nearly 15% of all reported cases of sexual violence in 2018 did not even lead to charges being filed against the accused.

The police, doctors and even the judiciary continue to be insensitive towards victims. The fast-track courts that were mooted after the Delhi rape to ensure speedy justice are a secondary consideration in a country where the first respondents – the police – refuse to register complaints or delay doing so.

Unnao case

The weaknesses of the system were tragically apparent in December...Read more


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