If you have been following news on India, you have read about the heartbreaking rape and murder of two teenage girls in rural Uttar Pradesh. The case brings to a confluence some of India’s biggest problems: lack of toilets, lack of security for women, rampant caste discrimination within the justice system, ineffective police procedures and a complete lack of governmental will to fix the system.
In today’s post, I look at the country’s justice system and it’s ability to deliver. I look at statistics on gender violence, conviction rates, caste segregated statistics. The results are horrifying. There is a definite upward trend in violence against women over the past decade. Nearly 50% of all rape victims are under the age of 18 and a majority are raped by someone they know. Conviction rates are abysmal with only 2% of all rape cases seeing a conviction. If the victim belongs to the scheduled castes/tribes then chances of conviction in any crime go down dramatically.
It is clear that India’s courts and police regularly fail its most vulnerable citizens. State sanctioned power only seems to perpetuate the traditional order which privileges men from upper castes. Governments, which largely contain those at the top of this order, seem reluctant to take any real action against these crimes. If India is serious about delivering on its promise of freedom and opportunity, then it needs to revamp its criminal justice system. A sensitized, motivated investigative system is needed. Unfortunately for Indian citizens, there seems little political will to change this system.
Graph 1 looks at violence against women as a % of total crimes in the country since 2008. Graph 2 looks at the age of rape victims(2012), Graph 3 looks at conviction rates in registered rape cases (2012). Finally, Graph 4 compares conviction rates in crimes against schedules castes/tribes vis-a-vis other crimes (2012). All credit for the data goes to the National Crime Records Bureau and the Oxfam Policy Blog.