Two men have been arrested in the rape and torture of a 5-year-old girl in India’s capital city, New Delhi, but it’s the government and the so-called patriarchal society that must answer for this heinous crime.
The accused should be put away for the rest of their lives if they are found guilty, They have permanently scarred the little girl, physically and emotionally, and have stolen her youth. Any sentence less than life in prison without parole will only serve to confirm what the world found out in January with the rape and murder of a 23-year-old student: Crimes against women are the rule, rather than the exception.
The government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should be called to account for the fact that men in India are comfortable in the knowledge that not only will they get away with rape, but that the victims will ultimately be blamed.
According to CNN, Singh, aware of the harsh criticism directed at his government and the police for the way they responded to the January rape, used the word “shameful” to describe the blood-curdling act against the 5-year-old girl.
If that’s the best the prime minister can do in reacting to such savagery, what hope is there for a sea change in the attitude of the male-dominated, chauvinistic society?
As the facts in the case become known, the sheer evilness of what took place gives lie to India’s boast of religious underpinnings. There is nothing godly about what was done to the innocent child.
According to the New York Times, chocolate was used to lure the little girl into the apartment of one of the accused. There she was raped, tortured (bits of candle and a small bottle were found inside her, CNN reported) and the two then tried to murder her.
The men fled shortly after, and the girl’s parents found her in the apartment two days later after they heard her cries.
The family contends the police did not take the complaint seriously, did not conduct an adequate search and then tried to bribe them into silence after the girl was found.
Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar dismissed calls for his resignation and said the three police officers in the case have been suspended.
“We will make an example of the errant police officers who have not responded or not reacted in the manner expected of them,” Kumar said. Talk about understating the seriousness of the situation.
There is an epidemic of rape and other violence against girls and women in India that demands action. The male dominated government and police do not have the credibility, nor the mentality, to fully deal with this crisis.
Prime Minister Manmohan should appoint a special commission headed by a woman and dominated by women to determine whether the police commissioner is right when he says that the problem is one of “mental depravity” and “mental sickness.”
“Rapes are opportunistic crimes committed within the confines of private spaces,” he said. “Ninety-seven percent are committed within homes, 3 percent by strangers.”
Among the cases being investigated by police, are those committed by fathers, ex-husbands, cousins, neighbors, doctors, landlords and a priest, the commissioner said.