Another gruesome rape 

The murder of Dr Priyanka Reddy in Hyderabad on Wednesday once again raises the point about the lack of safety and security for women in India. Twenty seven year old Reddy, a veterinary doctor parked her scooter near the toll gate and took a taxi to the hospital where she works. In the evening when she returned to take her scooter a truck driver and some other persons said her scooter tyres were flat and she would be unsafe driving on it. Ironically, Priyanka sensed danger and communicated that to her sister minutes before she was attacked and gang-raped. Questions are being asked as to why neither Priyanka nor her family members informed the police about the potential danger to Priyanka’s life. Is it lack of faith in the policing system or a lack of awareness on the part of the victim and her family or panic that got the better of Priyanka since she told her sister that she was afraid of the men who were ostensibly trying to help her.

The veterinary doctor’s charred body was found near a culvert in Shadnagar on the outskirts of Hyderabad on Thursday after she went missing on Wednesday.  Four men including two lorry drivers and cleaners were detained by Cyberabad police. Women’s organizations across the country have once again risen to protest and demand justice for the deceased. While this has become the normal reaction whenever some high profile murder and gang-rape takes place and more rigid laws are enacted which are reminiscent of the Nirbhaya rape case in Delhi, law in itself does not appear to be a deterrent. There is a societal malaise that needs to be addressed and it seems to have a class bias. Also while the laws are stringent, their application is a slow process. Indeed the law progresses so slowly that the wrongdoers often don’t feel a sense of repentance. Take the case of the rape of the minor girl by a former legislator in Meghalaya which happened in January 2017. Now the minor girl is about to turn 18 but she still awaits justice. In Meghalaya there are several cases of young girls who were raped and then murdered. Cases of rape of small girl-children have become quite common. We are yet to hear of any conviction that could have a salutary effect on the perpetrators and those contemplating such acts.

Time has come for society to take stock of these heinous crimes and to question the reasons that push men to resort to such acts which mutilates the very idea of womanhood and makes girls and women so vulnerable. At a time where women are increasingly stepping out to join the world of work, such gruesome incidents of rape and murder of working women could have a crippling effect on the female workforce.

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