(Content warning: mentions of violence and rape/gang rape)
Recently, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) released a report on empowerment of women in the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh (UP). The report showcases some obvious but troublesome facts and figures about the violence against women in the state. In the past five years, crimes against women have increased by almost 61%, and this figure includes cases of rapes, abduction, harassment etc.
The gang rape of a mother and daughter in Bulandshahar on the 31st of July this year is sadly not much of a surprise when looking at the current trends the report details. The CBI is dealing with this case and is yet to submit the reports. However, what seems impossible is the rehabilitation and resettlement of this ailing family and the two women, one of them being a child, to a state of normalcy.
The current UP government is being tagged as ‘GundaRaj’, i.e. “rule by the goons” by the opposition parties. But what remains absent in the blame-game are the many people who are barely concerned about these thousands of women who are constantly living a life of threats at each and every turn and in whatever they do. The government is getting praised widely for its ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (translates to Save girl child, educate girl child) and other similar initiatives. However, what is lacking from the side of the government is adequate attention towards the victims and their families.
At the same time, these initiatives will remain merely token, in case the government does not take additional measures towards making the entire state safe for its women. Moreover, one needs to pay more attention to the places which are suffering from these social evils the most i.e. Aligarh, Moradabad, Agra, Meerut etc.
We are living in the 21st century where women are considered equal to men in a many countries and places. However, the given scenario in the state of UP raises doubts with respect to this thought. This seems to be high time for the government to make a call, rather than showcasing its initiatives which seem to be tokenism at the end of it all.
As the levels of crime against women rises, safety still remains a dream for the women of UP, who amount to almost 12 crores in number (120 million).