Women security: A matter of concern in India

New Delhi, Nov. 23 : The induction of women as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force was cleared on 24th October by the government. The Defense Ministry stated that inducting women into the fighter stream would provide them with an equal opportunity to prove their ability in combat roles as well.

As per the plan, the first women pilots would be selected from the batch which is presently undergoing flying training at Air Force Academy. After successful completion of training, they would be commissioned in the fighter stream in June 2016. It is clearly evident that the Defense Ministry has full faith in the capability and courage of women, because apart from this initiative, earlier this year the government decided to recruit young women officers in Indo-Tibetan Border Police ( ITBP).

Apart from these optimistic steps the government has taken, the security of women in India has always been a matter of concern. The situation has become more ironical because there have been various kind of programmes initiated by the Government for women, like the ‘ Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, ‘ Ladli Laxmi Yojana’ and ‘ Sukanya Samridhi Yojna’. In such scenario, where our identity is at stake, should we really celebrate on being a woman?

We say that we are in the 21st century, are we? We have put our country on the global map. But our thought process and views are still rigid. We have reached the moon, but have failed to change our society and its mind-set. We women have shown active participation in all fields including politics, but sadly we have succumbed to various criticisms and have been a pivot of politics. A glaring example is the Nirbhaya case wherein on one hand people supported and questioned the security of women in India and on the other hand some even turned this into a political agenda.

There are such instances reported every day in the country, where conveniently the entire blame is put on women. Most of the time the family literally throws the rape survivor out of the house thinking that this would at least save the family from further embarrassment and shame. Most of the time there is no option left for these women and they commit suicide. There are only few of them who are supported by their family, and start their lives all over again.

One such shining example has been a family from a district in Madhya Pradesh called Khandwa. The survivor not only gave birth to the child but completed her own studies. Her parents supported her fully in this journey which brought back her confidence in herself. This incident may have scarred her for life, but the courage she has shown is incredible. Reports suggest that in most of the cases, the parents kill the child and due to fear of such incidents some are killed at birth.

The National Crime Record Bureau says that only within the capital, the number of rape cases registered in the year 2013 has been 1636. In the following year, the number of registered cases of child rape rose from 5,484 in 2009 to 13,766 in 2014.

That’s a staggering 151% rise over a five-year period. Within the same year (2014) the number of cases registered only in Madhya Pradesh was 2300 as compared to 870 a decade back.

According to NCRB data, there is a gradual increase in the number of rapes reported in India – from 24,923 in 2012 to 33,707 in 2013.

Despite several protests after the Nirbhaya incident in New Delhi, the national capital continues to be the most unsafe city in the country. The number of rapes in Delhi has almost doubled from 585 in 2012 to 1,441 in 2013. Delhi is followed by Mumbai (391), Jaipur (192) and Pune (171) among the top unsafe cities in the country.

The Nirbhaya case sent shockwaves across the country and led to thousands of people coming out onto the streets to protest over growing violence against women in the largely patriarchal and conservative nation.

Women’s rights groups say the figures are still gross under-estimates of the reality on the ground – women are often too scared to come forward to report rapes or domestic violence for fear their families and communities will shun them.

For how long are the women in India going to yearn for justice form the government? We ourselves should stand up for our own rights. We often forget that women like Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, Lata Mangeshkar, Kalpana Chawla, Arparna Kaur and Mary Kom and many others have worked hard and put our country on the international map. India is known for its rich culture and heritage, a country which is multi-lingual, follows various religions and is a home for all. It’s a matter of pride to be an Indian. But the recurring incidents of rape cases put us to a constant shame. For example, the recent case, where a two year girl was kidnapped during the celebrations of Ram Leela and was raped in the capital has questioned our security and safety yet again.

When the Charka team spoke to a few girls for their response in regards to this, they vented their fear on how unsafe they feel even at home. So in the current scenario do we really feel that enforcing some laws and announcing some programmes would prevent such crimes against women? We seriously need to ponder about this and take some concrete steps.

The views expressed in the article are of Sadaf Zareen(ANI)