Not a Country For Women

Daily 80 murders and 77 rape cases have been reported in 2020 in India, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data states. Delhi has accounted for nearly 40% of all rape cases and almost 25% of murder cases among 19 metropolitan cities in India in 2020.

India has been known to be a hostile place for women and especially Delhi being unsafe for girls and women. Now the NCRB has published a complete analysis of the situation with proven evidence translated into numbers.

Crimes against women include murder, rape, outraging modesty, dowry deaths and harassment, acid attacks, and kidnapping. Crime against women in 2020 represented a total of 371,503 cases which is a decline of 8.3% from 2019 (405,326 cases were registered). Of these most of them were registered under the category of “cruelty by husband or relatives,” (30.2%), then assault on women with “intent to outrage her modesty” (19.7%), kidnapping and abduction of women (19.0%) and rape (7.2%),” the report said.

29,193 women have been killed during 2020, which is a marginal increase of 1% from 2019. Among states, Uttar Pradesh has reported the maximum murder cases (3,779) followed by Bihar (3,150), Maharashtra (2,163), Madhya Pradesh (2,101 cases), and West Bengal (1,948). Delhi logged 472 murder cases in 2020.

28, 046 rapes happened during last year, with the majority happening in Rajasthan (5,310), followed by Uttar Pradesh (2,769), Madhya Pradesh (2,339), and Maharashtra (2,061 cases).

Kidnapping and abduction have gone down compared to 2019. In 2020, there were a total of 84,805 cases of kidnapping and abduction whilst in 2019 there were around 105,000. Besides rape, assault, attempt to commit rape, or kidnapping, particularly alarming are acid attacks. NCRB data show that around 105 cases of acid attacks happened across the country in 2020.

India has seen a jump of 28% in registration of crimes in 2020 compared to 2019, mainly due to COVID-19-related violations in the country. As The Hindu pick-ups, a total of 6,601,285 cognizable crimes comprising 4,254,356 Indian Penal Code crimes and 2,346,929 Special and Local Laws crimes were registered in 2020.

As per the NCRB report, communal riots registered an increase of 96% in 2020 over the previous year. Similarly, caste riots saw an increase of close to 50%, agrarian riots 38%, and riots during ‘andolan/morcha’ increased by 33%. Most of the 2020 cases are attributed to the Northeast Delhi riots of February last year. Cases of caste conflict increased from 492 in 2019 to 736 in 2020 with Bihar holding the highest number, 208.

Who is Rabiya Saifi?

Rabiya Saifi, a 21-year-old civil defense officer was allegedly stabbed 50 times to death in Delhi after being kidnapped on August 27 in Lajpat Nagar. The man who killed her is Nizamuddin and surrendered himself in Kalindi Kunj police station.

He claims to be his husband after they got married in secret, something that the family flatly denies. As journalist Ayusmita Chatterjee describes, the accused man’s claim of being married to the deceased is not verified in the Saket Court.

According to a report by Aaj Tak, Nizamuddin was the woman’s boyfriend and reportedly took her to the Suraj Kund area of Faridabad in Haryana where the couple had an argument over her claimed involvement with another person. After this Nizamuddin allegedly stabbed her multiple times and dumped her body in the bushes 10-15 feet from Surajkund-Pali Road.

The woman’s family has filed a complaint with the police and affirm that she was sexually assaulted, and her body mutilated. According to the Muslim Mirror’s Hasan Akram, her family members maintain that her breasts were cut, her neck was slit, private parts were mutilated and several cut marks across were made to her body.

However, the autopsy report has ruled out sexual assault but shown that private parts were injured with a statement saying that “the cause of death, in this case, is shock and haemorrhage due to injury to vital organs, that is the neck, head, chest, and other injuries”, as SheThePeople news outlet picks up.

Her family says that the incident reeked of the involvement of more than one person, further accusing two of the woman’s colleagues in the case. Other sources explain that they believe that their daughter has been gang-raped by at least 4 men or up to 10 and that these are being shielded by officials.

No mainstream media has covered her murder. Only Twitter has been filled with #JusticeForRabiya and has made the crime go viral with about 70,000 tweets. Additionally, several protests and candlelight vigils across the country have taken place, the biggest one in Sangam Vihar. Students of Aligarh Muslim University also staged protests seeking justice for the girl and her family.

Rabiya Saifi was associated with the office of Lajpat Nagar District Magistrate. This connection with the police, the extreme secrecy of the investigation, and the way police are behaving have sparked rumors of police involvement with her death. The family since the beginning has accused functionaries of the Lajpat Nagar DM office of being involved in her murder because Rabiya was aware of corrupt activities taking place there.

Her father Samid Ahmad said that Rabiya told him and her mother about a secret lock-up inside the DM office, where crores of rupees were kept. She had expressed that 3-4 lakh rupees used to come every day, allegedly through corrupt means, explains Muslim Mirror. Her cousin Monis Saifi has added that the police are not helping the family and no one from the DM’s office has visited them so far.

Commenting on Nizamuddin’s murder confession, Monis believes it is a “conspiracy to defame her [Rabiya] and give a different angle to the case.” Moreover, the man surrendered to the police on 27 August and although the police should have presented him to the court the next day, they did not do for the first eight days, voiced Monis.

Momin, Rabiya’s other cousin told Clarion India that “Nizamuddin is not alone. There are around 10 persons from SDM’s office (Sub-divisional magistrate) who are involved in the murder of Rabiya.”

“She knew about the scams within the office and they were afraid she might expose them and that is why they killed her.”

Hafeez of AIMIM, while talking to Clarion India, said that it was not an ordinary case given that she went missing while on duty and the brutality with which she was murdered. He concurred with the family allegations that her colleagues at the magistrate’s office are involved. Both the family and Hafeez of AIMIM have demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigations.

Hafeez lashed out at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for maintaining a silence on the “heinous crime” and demanded a compensation of rupees one crore for the family and swift punishment for the guilty.

In India, not a single day passes without coming across news about a woman’s rape or a rape-murder case. The murder of Rabiya Saifi surpasses physical brutality but has remained silenced in mainstream media. Despite the gruesome murder, despite the victim being a civil defense officer attached to the DM office in Delhi and despite her murder taking place in Faridabad under the National Capital Region, there is complete silence.

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