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The Indian Government strengthened laws on sexual violence last year following widespread outcry over the deadly gang rape of a student on a Delhi bus. But more atrocious sex crimes are being reported now in Uttar Pradesh.
On May 29 two young teenaged girls who had been gang raped were found hanged by the neck from a tree in Badaun district - prompting a new wave of countrywide protests against sexual violence. This atrocity was followed by a number of similar cases and others that involved hanging alone. One rape reportedly occurred inside a police station in the same state where the teens were hanged. More recently two more teenaged girls were raped at knife-point while staying in a church-run hostel in southern Tamil Nadu state.
All of the teen victims were believed to be under age 13. Though reports say these sex crimes, especially in Uttar Pradesh. are not new, the growing public outrage over them is bringing more cases to light.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the press protection of India’s women should be a priority. Tell Modi to change "should" to “must,” and make sure to follow through.
We, the undersigned, find the continued sexual violence in India beyond outrageous and unnecessary.
When rapes are occurring in police stations, you know that laws on sexual violence, however much they’ve been tightened, are not tight enough.
As reports say these atrocities are not new. A woman who grew up in a small village in Pratapgarh remembers, as a child, hearing her elders talk about the prevalence of these sex crimes. She says the perpetrators were almost always local men of high-caste Brahmin status. And the female victims were almost always lower-caste, formerly called “untouchables”or Dalit. Her mother told her nobody went to the police back then because they were known to be part of the problem.
To make it clear that problems with police participation has not been resolved, the woman, now a journalist, found a 14-year-old hanged to a year inside a police station in Uttar Pradesh in 2011.
There was no excuse for this a generation or two ago, but much less now.
We insist the Indian Government do more to stop these cruel and atrocious crimes that target women and children. Police perpetrators especially should face very strict retribution for their participation in these atrocities, and attacks on children should carry an even higher sentence. However the best answer is prevention - and the head of any police station where these crimes occurred should be accountable for removing all officers who were involved and retiring himself.
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