January 10 2013
Despite recent uproar against India’s rape laws, local police neglect duties and ignore yet another rape.
Jyoti Singh Pandy’s horrific rape and murder attracted international attention and sparked mass protests against the Indian government’s treatment of women. The government promised reform, yet a few days later, when a 21-year-old woman was reportedly gang-raped and murdered, police failed to even file a report.
When their daughter did not come home following her shift at a garment factory, the victim’s parents tried to contact the police. Instead of assisting her parents, a police officer insensitively suggested their daughter had tried to elope.
In fact, police did not try to locate the family’s daughter until her neighbors began to protest. Her body was found, smothered, battered, and half naked. Her father claims she was gang-raped, and that police failed to hand over the body, file a report, or even conduct a post-mortem on the murder victim. What police did do is make derogatory remarks about the victim’s body.
Three police officers have been suspended for both the comments and negligence. Yet police reform will mean more than suspending a few officers who got caught neglecting their duties. Ensuring justice will mean both public demand for comprehensive justice reforms and action by the states.
The only good news from these tragedies is that the public is finally demanding change. Their protests have proven that the Indian public is tired of police turning a blind eye towards gender violence.
The bad news is that bribery and injustice are rampant in the government. Up to 62 percent of Indians report giving bribes in order to get a public official to do something. With such widespread corruption, women and low-caste members have little confidence that the police and courts will defend justice and liberty.