How many more Nirbhayas?

Women safety has again hit the headlines of our media, people have again come on roads to protest, law-makers have started talking about more stringent laws and law enforcement agencies are reiterating about spreading awareness. But, why all this discussion only after a heinous crime? Should not it be a part of regular discussion as we live in this so-called civilized society and world’s largest democracy? India has again lost another daughter due to some delinquent minds of the society and we are again looking for justice as after 2012 Delhi Nirbhaya Case.

It is said that “Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied”. Then, can we say that justice was done in Nirbhaya Case? If, even after 7 years, the death sentence to convicted criminals has not yet been awarded to them. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), around 106 rapes are reported in India per day and conviction rate in rape cases is only 25%. This shows the grim reality of our criminal justice system. Due to inadequate forensic expertise, insensitive police personnel as well as lack of legal knowledge, proper evidences are not presented before courts and criminals are freed of charges. Our legal system is also not up to the mark for delivery of justice in such cases. Huge pendency of cases, inordinate delay as well as costly legal support make justice a dream for many.

Many people are demanding strict laws and stricter punishments, some are even demanding “Mob-lynching”. These sentiments can be understood after looking at the crime committed in Telangana last week. But, in a civilized and democratic society where, there is a proper legal system and procedure for punishment, we should look for justice within the system otherwise such mob sentiments can do more harm in the long run than any benefit. Our laws were modified after Nirbhaya Case and punishments were made stricter but rape cases increased instead of declining, as per NCRB data. So, did we get the desired outcome through modification of laws?

Women safety is not all about law and its enforcement, it is about making a whole ecosystem and society women-worth, where women can feel free and walk fearless.

Women safety is not all about law and its enforcement, it is about making a whole ecosystem and society women-worth, where women can feel free and walk fearless. Contribution of society, law-makers, law enforcers, legal practitioners i.e. everyone’s contribution is equally important. It should start right from our home and we should give moral-education, manners to our children to respect women and her dignity and schools should make it a part of their curriculum so that, no child become a criminal in future. Our law-makers must be sensitive towards women safety and leave no stone unturned for saving India’s daughters. It is heart-wrenching that a substantial amount of Nirbhaya-Fund was not being used by State Governments, it shows the seriousness of governments towards women safety. 

In providing a complete ecosystem of safety, technology can be leveraged such as helpline numbers, panic buttons on phone, CCTV surveillance etc. More women police personnel, better training to them, more patrolling teams, human and social intelligence on ground, quick action on any report related to women safety, fast track courts and time-bound justice, more sensitivity towards such incidents etc. will improve women safety in India. But will that be enough given the huge resource constraints faced by our law and order agencies? I think, it will serve our purpose only to some extent. As a society, we need to be more aware and sensitive towards women’s issues, then only we will be able to provide an atmosphere of comfort for India’s daughters. 

Our Father of the Nation had said: “The day a woman can walk freely on the roads at night, that day we can say that India has achieved independence.”   


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