Bhopal: As the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Madhya Pradesh government runs the 15-day ‘Samman Campaign’ from January 13 to curb crimes against women, the state has witnessed four spine-chilling incidents of rape in the last one week.
In one of the incidents, a woman was raped and a rod was inserted into her private part in Sidhi district, in a terrifying reminder of the Delhi gangrape case of 2012. In another incident, nine men reportedly gangraped a 13-year-old over almost a week in Umaria district. Third incident was reported from Khandwa where a 13-year-old was raped and strangled to death, while in Betul, a dalit girl was raped following which the accused in the case reportedly tried to bury her alive.
These reports, against the backdrop of the ‘Samman Campaign’, portray a starker reality of the state of women. On top of this, in a bizarre announcement, the MP CM had even announced in Bhopal that his government plans to track the location of working women “to ensure” their safety.
The National Crime Record Bureau and Madhya Pradesh Police data reveal that the number of rape incidents has doubled under the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government in the state. As per MP Police’s official data, by November 2020, 4,213 rape cases had been reported as opposed to 2019, when 2,485 cases were reported, under the Congree government’s rule.
Rolly Shivhare, member of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, said, “The state government has hardly taken any initiative to curb rape cases apart from making announcements and organising ceremonial events in the name of women’s security. There is no political commitment to usher in a change.”
She further said, “India is reluctant to include sex education at school level in the name of culture conservation; however, recently, the trend of rapes and molestation is seen to be higher among the students and youth of the country.”
Another women's rights activist, Rekha from the Hifazat network, said, “Pornographic content, ineffective policing, police apathy in registering cases, and insufficient action in courts have been constant motivators for the rapists and molesters.”
Coming down heavily on the growing lawlessness in the state, Congress spokesperson KK Mishra said, "It's been proved that CM Chouhan, who claimed to be a mama (maternal uncle), has failed to protect his bhanjis (nieces). Shivraj is an incompetent chief minister who failed to maintain law and order in the state and under his 16 years of rule, MP has emerged as the rape capital of India."
He added, "Recently, 26 people died in Morena due to hooch, but hardly any action was taken against the liquor mafia. He did the same when 14 people had died by consuming illicit liquor in Ujjain in October last year. He is hand in gloves with the liquor mafia."
The most recent incident of rape was reported at the Ghoradongri police station of Betul district where a 13-year-old dalit girl was raped on Tuesday. The 35-year-old accused tried to bury the victim alive to hide the crime, the police said. The crime took place when the girl had gone to switch off the motor at her farm. After the crime, he dumped her in a nearby pit and covered it with stones and thorny bushes, Betul Superintendent of Police Simala Prasad said. Hours later, family members found the girl in the pit after they heard her groaning during their search. Owing to her critical condition, the girl has been referred to Nagpur.
The police have filed an FIR based on the complaint lodged by the victim's family under the relevant sections of the IPC and have arrested the accused.
Another incident was reported from Umaria district on January 17. A 13-year-old Class 9 student was abducted and gang-raped by nine persons including two truck drivers for almost five days causing her acute trauma, officials said on Sunday.
After the FIR, the police launched a hunt and arrested eight people including a truck driver on charges of abducting, gang-rape, and under sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act. One is still absconding.
The third case was reported from Khandwa district where a 45-year-old grocer allegedly raped a 13-year-old girl and then strangled her to death with his wife’s help. A case has been registered against the shopkeeper and his wife under relevant sections of the IPC. Police investigation further revealed that eight years back, the accused had molested another girl. She died by suicide after the incident.
The last incident was reported from Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh on January 11. A 45-year-old widowed woman was gang-raped on January 10. The accused not only gang-raped her but also inserted an iron rod into her private part.
The woman runs a shop and one of the accused, Bailal Patel, her neighbour, approached the victim to get the water at midnight with three other accused, said Sidhi ASP Manjulata Patle. The police arrested all the four accused in connection with the incident the following day.
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