Latest NCRB data shows 191 gang rapes took place in the state last year with a rate of 1.5% against the national average of 0.3%.
Chandigarh: Haryana, already infamous for being the state with the worst sex ratio, has now earned the dubious distinction of also topping the country in the number of gang rapes.
A total of 191 gang rapes took place in the state in 2016, or one every two days, according to the latest report of the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB).
It shows that Haryana registered a gang rape rate (gang rape per one lakh population) of 1.5, which is the highest in the country. The national average is 0.3.
The total number of rapes in the state last year was 1,187, which averages to more than three rapes a day. The rape rate in Haryana is 9.4 against the national average of 6.1.
And this is not a one-off finding. In 2014, when the NCRB added gang rapes as a separate sub-category in the list of rapes, Haryana recorded the highest gang rape rate in the country at 1.9 while the national average that year was 0.4.
In 2015 too, Haryana topped the gang rape rate at 1.6 when the national average was 0.3.
Haryana’s immediate neighbours Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have a much better record.
In 2016, 840 rapes took place in Punjab of which 30 were gang rapes. In Himachal, 258 rapes took place, of which four were gang rapes.
The latest NCRB data shows that in Haryana, of the 1,187 rape victims, 518 were minors, 32 were less than 6 years old and 82 less than 12 years old.
In Punjab, of the total 840 rape cases, 410 victims were minor. In Himachal, 148 of the 258 victims were minor girls.
In almost all the cases in the three states, the alleged rapist was known to the victim. In Haryana, in 549 cases out of the total 1,187 rape cases, the offender was a neighbour. In another 25 cases, the alleged rapist was from within the family such as a grandfather, father or brother.
This year has already seen two such prominent cases in Haryana. In August, a 15-year-old girl in Sonepat was allegedly gang raped by her cousins who threatened not to report the matter to her parents. The issue came to light after the girl was found to be pregnant.
In May, a 10-year-old from Rohtak was found to be pregnant after she had been repeatedly raped by her stepfather. Here are a few more cases that took place this year:
— On 10 December, a six-year-old girl was raped and killed in Haryana’s Hisar district. Only one person has been arrested so far.
— A week before that, a 27-year-old woman was gang-raped in a moving autorickshaw in Hisar. Three men have been arrested.
— In May this year, a 23-year-old Sonepat woman was gang-raped and murdered in Rohtak allegedly by her jilted lover and his friend. The two were arrested.
— Days after this incident, a 22-year-old woman from Sikkim was kidnapped in Gurugram and gang-raped before being dumped on road in Delhi the next morning.
— On 29 May, a 23-year-old woman from Manesar was gang-raped by three men in an autorickshaw. The accused were arrested.
Apart from rapes, Haryana has fared badly in other crimes against women and ranks sixth in the country on this list.
“The high incidence of gang rapes in Haryana is a manifestation of the resilience of the celebration of masculinity through sexual dominance by men over women, even if it means raping them,” said Prof. Rajesh Gill of the department of sociology, Panjab University, Chandigarh.
“This is the ugliest manifestation of patriarchy that refuses to quit. More than the law, it is the community sentiment, which is the culprit…A large number of girls are killed quietly in the darkness of the night, just to save the so-called honour of the family and village, with not a single member of the community coming out as a witness. With such a huge tolerance for patriarchy at the cost of your own daughters, it is foolish to expect anything else from the state,” she said.