The numbers of brutal rapes in India are increasing everyday and were recorded to be at an all-time high of 32033 cases throughout the country with an average of 88 cases per day, as stated by the National Crime Record Bureau in their 2019 report. Today, rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. Bilkis Bano, the woman hitting the national headlines these days was brutally raped when she was 21 years old and 5 months pregnant following the communal violence that followed after the unfortunate incident of Godhra train burning in 2002.
Bano along with her mother and three other women was gang raped, her daughter was mercilessly thrashed to the ground in front of her eyes, crying for help. 8 members of their group were found dead and 6 others were reported missing. Police and the legal system are entrusted with the significant role of protecting and guarding the rights of citizens in a democratic country and upholding the spirit of justice and public order. Imagine the
gruesome reality of these guardians turning into demons. Bilkis Bano’s FIR regarding the matter in the Limkheda Police station is believed to have been ‘suppressed of the material facts and a distorted and truncated version’ of her complaint. The case was then taken up by National Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court directed a CBI investigation into the matter who found out that the evidence had been heavily tampered with, in favour of the 11 accused men.
Finally after years of struggle, in January 2008 the Court convicted the accused to life imprisonment and a compensation of rupees 50 lakhs was awarded to Bilkis. However, on 15 August 2022, when India was celebrating its 76th Independence day, the 11 accused were released under section 433A of CRPC and were even given a floral welcome by their relatives. In Bano’s words, “The decision has taken from me my peace and shaken my faith in justice. Give me back my right to live without fear and in peace.” What are we heading towards? No religion preaches such violence and intolerance towards humanity. Rape is not just a women’s issue. It’s also about those men who forgot how to behave like human beings. It’s an outrage that cannot be tolerated in a civilised society. It’s not an act
of physical violence only against the victim, but rather an assault on
humanity. It won’t be wrong to say that ‘women is a soldier and her body a battlefield’. Females represent a pool of untapped power and are the most under utilised resources of our economy. Abdu’l- Baha once said, ” The world of humanity is possessed of two wings, the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly.”
The author is a student at Daulat ram College, University of Delhi. Views are personal