Indian women in New Delhi on July 21 protest rape and violence against women. (ucanews.com photo)
Police in New Delhi have arrested a 42-year-old music teacher on charges of raping his 7-year-old student, but church and rights activists say such incidents occur due to a lack of fear for the law against sexual violence in India.
"The rapist is mentally sick and he knows that even if he is arrested he will come out of the jail after some months or years," Sister Evelyn Menezes, head of Delhi Archdiocese's Commission for Women, told ucanews.com.
Laws are strict but it takes a long time for the victim to get justice and that weakens the case and hence the culprit does not have any fear in his mind, said the Daughters of the Heart of Mary nun.
Ravi Kumar, the accused, used to give piano lessons to the girl in a closed room in her home, while her mother used to be present at home.
The girl complained to her parents who then went to the police, leading to Kumar's arrest on Sept. 11 after a medical examination confirmed rape.
As per the Indian law, those charged with rape are liable to get up to a life term and even the death sentence.
However, even then violence against women continues.
According to a 2013 annual report by the National Crime Records Bureau, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. It went up to 33,707 in 2013, and in over 15,000 cases, the victims were between 18-30 years of age. In nearly 80 percent of cases was an alleged rapist charged but the conviction rate was only 28 percent, according to data by the National Crime Research Center.
Recently in Madurai, in southern India, a school principal was booked under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 for molesting a 12-year-old girl student of the same school.
An 11-month-old baby was reportedly abducted and raped by a construction worker early this month in New Delhi.
In another case, four people were arrested Sept. 11 for the gang rape and murder of a couple and their two female relatives in the northern Indian state of Haryana.
"Sexual crimes in India are happening despite stringent laws because we are doing nothing toward changing the mindset of the people," Jyotsna Chatterjee, director of the Joint Women's Program of the Church of North India, told ucanews.com.
Chatterjee said there should be gender sensitization programs where people should recognize women as equal partners. Just imposing laws will not change anything, she said.
Archana Sinha, who heads the Department of Women's Studies in Indian Social Institute, said people know that the implementation of the law is very slow, and they take advantage of that.
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