Children are supposed to be protected. They’re supposed to have a childhood spent stressing about playtime before homework and about making up with their best friends over tiffin fights. But in India, children are scared. And they should be.
The tragic, inhuman and unspeakable act of rape, torture and the murder of an eight-year-old in Kathua has jolted the entire nation.
How do you equip children to protect themselves? How do you protect a child? The situation in India is quite grim.
The National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) most recent records, showcasing the rate of crime against children in India in 2016, presents an extremely worrying statistic.
Looking specifically at the incidents of rape against children, an 82 percent increase in the number of cases in one year was reported in 2016.
The records show that while in 2015, 10,854 cases of rape under Section 376 of the IPC and under Sections 4 and 6 of the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act were registered pan-India, 2016 saw 19,765 of such cases being registered.
The most number of minor rape cases were reported in Madhya Pradesh (2,467), Maharashtra (2,292), Uttar Pradesh (2,115), Odisha (1,258) and Tamil Nadu (1,169) in 2016.
Though the exact data for 2018 so far has not been released as yet, the year doesn’t seem to be faring any better.
In a mere four months into the year, we have already heard about some of the most brutal acts of rape and torture carried out against children across the country. And these are just the ones that have caught our attention.
While the NCRB is yet to release the statistics for the rate of child rape in India in the year 2017, its records from 2015 and 2016 are a clear indication that there has been a significant increase in the number of cases, a statistic which may only be rising in 2018.
These records show that despite the government’s control of the rising rate of crime against children in the country, since it came to power in 2014, the numbers have only increased.
Here are five of the most tragic rape cases involving minors in 2018.
1. Kathua Rape Case:
The eight-year-old girl, who was brutally gangraped by eight different men in a temple in Kathua, belonged to the Muslim Bakerwals community. She was reportedly held for days in the temple and raped, in what appears to have been an effort to drive out the remaining members of the community from the region.
According to the NCRB’s data, the state of Jammu and Kashmir did not report any case of rape against children in 2015, but the following year saw a rise to 21 different cases. With the Kathua rape and murder case having led to an outburst of protests across the country, the reality of the extreme and unsafe character of the state for its children has come to the forefront.
2. Jind Rape Case:
Earlier in January, the body of a 15-year-old girl from Jind, Haryana, who had been missing for three days, was found in the village of Jhansa. Medical reports showed that she had been brutally gangraped, and her private parts had been mutilated.
While the main suspect was an 18-year-old boy from the village, who she had reportedly known, the suspect in question was found dead a few days later, from the Bhakra canal in Karnal.
Haryana, a state known to be unsafe for women and children, had reported a total of 224 minor rape cases in 2015, according to the NCRB data. In 2016, the number had risen shockingly to 532.
3. Panipat Rape Case
Another incident of terrifying rape of a minor in Haryana took place in the the city of Panipat, where an 11-year-old girl was raped and murdered by two of her neighbours, who reportedly committed necrophilia after they had murdered her.
While the two accused in the case, Pradeep Kumar (27) and Sagar (22) had been arrested by the police, after they had confessed to raping, murdering and performing sexual intercourse on the corpse, the occurrence of a second rape of a minor, days within the incident in Jind, suggests that the rate of such instances has incurred a sharp rise in the past two years.
4. Surat Rape Case:
The NCRB records for the rate of minor rape cases in the state of Gujarat showed a sharp rise, from 1,059 minor victims being subjected to rape in 2015 to a total of 1,120 in 2016.
The recent news regarding the discovery of a mutilated body of an 11-year-old girl, with as many as 86 injury marks being found on her body, doesn’t seem to state that the number of minor rape cases in the state has improved in any way.
The postmortem report suggests that the victim was abducted and raped for at least eight days, before she was strangled to death.
5. Lalunggaon Rape Case:
Assam’s records witnessed yet another jump from 542 minor victims being raped in the state of Assam in 2015, to the number increasing to 586 a year later.
The year 2018 has also seen its fair share of gruesome rapes against minors in the state, with one particular incident, where a minor girl was gangraped and then set on fire, standing out from the rest.
The three men, out of whom two are juveniles, had raped the class five student in March, with the third still reportedly absconding.