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Rape at Rashtrapati Bhavan: Govt silent, Nation shocked!

A student in Delhi has been allegedly raped by a staff member at the staff quarters of Rashtrapati Bhavan. The nation is shocked and anguished at the rape of the student in a high-security area like the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Until now, the incidents of rape in the temple, mosque, church, police station, etc. have hit the headlines.

Congress MP Sushmita Dev said, “It’s an unfortunate incident. Rashtrapati Bhavan is a high-security place. What can we expect from the government if it can’t provide security to women? Such an incident occurs in staff quarters of Rashtrapati Bhavan when Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks about ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign. If the PM would have taken this incident seriously, such crimes would not have occurred. This means that nobody is taking the PM seriously on women’s security.”

Even the Rashtrapati Bhavan is not safe for women. This incident has shaken the nation after more than six years of Delhi gang rape case on a bus in December 2012. The police have registered an FIR against the accused, who is absconding. The culprit called the university student to the staff quarters of the Rashtrapati Bhavan and raped her on the pretext of marriage on Tuesday night.

Vijaya Rahatkar, Chairperson of Maharashtra State Commission for Women, said, “If rape incident occurs in a high security institution like Rashtrapati Bhavan, it is unjustified and questions should not be raised about the security of women in the rest of the country. It’s the accused’s mindset that provokes him to commit such crimes. Law must be strengthened to curb rape incidents.”

It is more shocking that the government and the administration are tight-lipped over this serious crime against a woman in the premises of official residence of the President of India. It seems as if nothing happened at all. The police have not arrested the accused yet. They are verifying the allegations. However, the Deputy Commissioner of Police denied the claim and said that the accused used to live in Kali Bari, where the student often visited him. The student is pursuing M. Sc. It is claimed by many that the police are trying to prove that the incident of the rape did not happen in the Rashtrapati Bhavan and perhaps the officials have censored the news.

Social activist Teesta Setalvad said, “It is sad, angering, and shameful. Is this what we have come to? Our government speaks of Beti Bachao and the highest place of Constitutional governance becomes the witness of such violence against women?”

The national capital New Delhi remains unsafe for women as ever. It is one of the worst places in the world for sexual violence against women. According to a report of Delhi Police, more than five women were raped every day in the national capital in the first three and a half months last year. The police claimed that in 96.63 per cent of the rape cases reported last year, the accused was known to the victim. More than six years after the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012, and despite stringent gender laws, and an open conversation on sexual violence in the country, nothing has changed in the whole country including national capital Delhi. Even today, girls are molested in schools, professional women are raped by taxi drivers and male colleagues, village girls are trafficked and sold to brothels in cities. The law and order is very serious in New Delhi. Crime data showed that 578 cases of the rape were reported in the city till April 2018 against 563 cases in 2017.

NCP IT cell National President Bindu Bhosale said, “It is a very shameful act that a student has been raped at Rashtrapati Bhavan staff quarters. Where is the security and safety of women in India? If a girl is not safe in the surrounding of Rashtrapati Bhavan in presence of security then how safe is our villages, cities and other places in India. We have to fight for our safety. If there is no safety at Rashtrapati residence,how can there be safety at other place?. The accused should be punished and hanged to death.  There must be a change of governance.”

In the first week of January 2019, 92 cases of heinous crimes, including 11 murders and 22 rape incidents, have been reported in New Delhi. From January 1 to 7, there have been 11 murders, 13 cases of attempt to murder, 46 armed robberies, and 22 rape incidents.

The law alone cannot do much in these cases. We have to change the mindset of society. For this, an integrated and collective initiative should be taken on all level. Every male child must be taught to respect girls and women at home first.

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