The website of the Bihar Police states that the number of cognizable criminal cases till July 2012 is 94188. Prompt in ensuring a better life for women, the good governance of Nitish Kumar has ironically also registered 563 rape cases till July 2012. These statistics are from the website of the Bihar Police, but the actual numbers are quite scary.
At the time of the start of his second tenure in the state, Nitish Kumar adjudged better law and order and betterment of women as the prime reasons for his success. Standing up for him, irrespective of their social background, caste and creed, women had supported him strongly and voted for him. But the continuous increase in atrocities on women has reduced the authenticity for law and order claims in the state. If we look at the statistics of the National Crime Record Bureau, 6186 cases of female atrocities were recorded in 2008 which increased to 10231 in 2011. This means that there has been an increase of 65 per cent within these three years in cases related to women atrocities, whereas nearly 56 per cent of women within the age group of 14 -49 are prey in Bihar to physical and sexual violence.
Recently, several women from different districts of the state, under the banner of the “Mahila Atyachar Virodhi Sangharsh Morcha” made angry demonstrations. The Bihar police constables tried to stop the women demonstrators near the capital’s post office, but were incapable of doing so. The three ‘faces’ of Nitish Kumar — Atrocity, Corruption and Rape were depicted instead of the Cycle symbol and stinging slogans and an appeal for security were made. The demonstration continued throughout the day and was a slap on the face of the Government. Inspite of the continuous increase in the crime rate graph, the Opposition in the state are still in a state of complacency. Even after 7 years the Opposition has not been able to come out of this complacency. This is the reason that we find school children, social workers and the common people from different districts including Patna on the streets of the state raising slogans.
Nitish Kumar gives assurances to people from different corners of the country who arrive at Patna, that girls can be seen riding a scooter in Patna at 9 p.m. in the night, but in spite of the Chief Minister’s assurance, the condition of the state capital is not good. The school children of the Patna Nala Road situated Bapu Smarak Uchcha Vidyalaya and Bapu Smarak Madhya Vidyalaya have to study with a women constable present. The school administration and the female students allege that the boys of that area pass naughty comments and use the toilets of the ladies. When the administration is not able to control these notorious boys, then to what extent will they be able to stop crime against women in the capital? On the 20 July, attackers in broad day light murdered Neelam Sharma, a teacher in the Rajiv Nagar area of the capital. It is very shocking to see that the police have not been able to obtain a solid decision on the case yet. An idea of the high confidence of anti-social elements can be obtained from an incident when a 24 years old teacher. Shalini, was molested during the afternoon and was knocked down and thrown on the street when she put up opposition. This happened in Maner, situated close to Patna. Not only this, a local teacher who had come to save the lady teacher was smashed brutally by the attackers.
If we look at the statistics of the National Crime Record Bureau, 6186 cases of female atrocities were recorded in 2008 which increased to 10231 in 2011. This means that there has been an increase of 65 per cent within these three years in cases related to women atrocities, whereas nearly 56 per cent of women within the age group of 14 -49 are prey in Bihar to physical and sexual violence.
Apart from all these cases the gang rape incident in Patna has in fact put yet another black mark on the face of the Government. This case has placed the State Commission for Women and the Police Department in the palisade of the court. Even though the case has gone to the Supreme Court, but there are still a lot of questions that are unanswered. A school student of Patna named Pinki ( name changed ) was gang raped by her class mates on 14 June. For the first time, on 12 July, an electronic channel broadcast this case. On 13 July, the then Patna city Superintendent of Police, Kim Sharma took the compact disc of the incident and began investigating the case. Sources say that important evidence against the notorious boys came into the hands of Kim and as a result she was transferred as the Superintendent of Police at Katihar.
In between these cases, local women organisations and social workers continued with their demonstrations. In the meantime the Deputy General of Police, Abhayanand gave a statement that there is nobody from the victimised student or from her family members to make an FIR on this case and as a result their hands are tied. It is very necessary to ask about the irresponsible statement made by Abhayanand. Did he not have the knowledge of the criminal act-155 which states that if the administration gets any information related to any such cognizable crime then they can take suo moto action in the case ? Questions also arise on the Commission for Women. Why did they think of taking a step about the case only after it was already a week old ? When the Commission had already met the victim on 18 July, then what were the reasons that they submitted their report to the Deputy General of Police after a week, on 24 July ?
It is the irresponsible behaviour of the administration that the FIR for the case gets registered after 12 days had passed. The FIR filed by the Commission for Women and the police have stated that 4 people were the attackers, but the compact disc from which identities have been determined, and which is also the prime proof of the case, clearly shows five people involved in the crime, and the six arrested students have also admitted their crime. Social worker Kanchan Bala states that the Government is trying to marginalise the gang rape case. Saurabh and Rishabh are the sons of powerful people in the state who have an influential reach till the very peak of the ruling party. This is the reason that the Government is trying to save them. Kanchan further adds that the distribution of cycles would not change the face of the state as the women are not safe in any part of the state.
An idea of the irresponsibility of the Government can be obtained from the fact that when the Bihar Government was asked for answers in this case by the Supreme Court on the 30 August, instead of giving answers to the Court, it asked for some more time. The carelessness of the state Government can be seen clearly in this case. Even after the car in which the crime was committed was found, the owner of the car has not been questioned yet and neither have the police seized the mobile phones from the accused. Member of the National Commission for Women and State Coordinator, Charu Bali Khanna clearly states that the women are not secure in the state. On the gang rape case she added that the Police were not working properly in the case.
Another incident of gang rape took place at Begusarai. Criminals seem to have become fearless and the entire administrative system seems to be ready to save the criminals. In Pansalla village under the Chourahi police station, the 30 year old wife of Mohammad Anwar was molested by 5 people. Before this, she was gang raped by these people out of whom only 1 was arrested and the other accused keep on threatening the family to take the case back. Anwar says that he has been to the Janta Darbar of the Chief Minister already on three occasions and made an appeal about the case. In spite of this his wife had to face such an incident for the second time. One other case of gang rape occurred in the month of August. Some political stalwarts and the entire administrative system is trying to marginalise this case. A girl was kidnapped on 22 August from Matihani village of Begusarai District. On the morning of 24 August, when she regained consciousness, she found herself in a miserable state at a lodge in Samastipur. The girl and her family members filed a case against her two cousin brothers, one uncle and one neighbour and three other people allegedly for kidnapping her and then raping her. The Begusarai Police states the entire case is a lie. The administration’s own investigation processes forced the common people to doubt them. The medical board which was formed for the investigation did not include a pathologist, whereas the presence of a pathologist is a must in cases of rape. The Superintendent of Police has stated that the victim said she found herself in Samastipur after regaining consciousness and then she made a call to her grandfather. But at the time when she made the call and said she was in Samastipur, the location of her mobile phone was in Khagaria, according to the police investigation. The interesting point is that the mobile number specified by the police belongs to the victim whearas the victim called her grandfather from a different number belonging to another person from Samastipur. The grandfather of the victim filed an FIR on 25 August about the rape case and a loot of 4000 rupees along with her mobile. It is shocking to see that the police does not take the two numbers as proof and do not talk about it either. Member of the State Commission for Women, Chandramukhi Devi reached Begusarai to investigate the issue and gave a statement from Patna that it is a fake case and no rape had taken place. When the Commission can give such a statement without even meeting the victim then questions arising on the impartiality of the Commission. This case of gang rape in Begusarai led to an agitation. The local people of Barauni made a torch parade against the administration and students held angry demonstrations.
The native district of the Chief Minister is not untouched by crime. Last year, in Nalanda, Nagina Devi was tied to a bed and red hot iron was cast on her private parts and boiling water was thrown on her body. Nagina Devi’s mistake : she refused to go to the house of a high status family to cut the nails of the women of that house. At the time when Nagina Devi was admitted in a hospital in Bihar Sharif, the Chief Minister was also addressing people in the town hall near the hospital. To go and meet Nagina Devi was not even on his list and he never even mentioned anything about the case either. There is one other case which took place in Tarauni village of Purnia. Grief stricken Gopal asks what is the use of living in this system ? His sister went missing on 8 May, and we found her dead body on the farm on 13 May. By looking at the dead body it could be easily said that she was first raped and then killed. He added that his sister was just a seventh standard student, what harm did she cause to anybody ? It is quite shocking to find that the incident took place in the month of May and he has not received the post-mortem report yet. He says that his father and two uncles are in the police department but even then they did not get any support from the administration. They had to make a lot of visits to Bhagalpur and Purnia related to the case, but after an uproar from the members of the All India Progressive Women Association (AIPWA) and the local people, a post-mortem was conducted _ three days after the body was found.
POLITICS FOR VOTES
The state Chairman of the All India Progressive Women Association (AIPWA), Saroj Chaubey states that the feudal face of Nitish Kumar came into the lime light long back. Now it is also clear that the Nitish Kumar Government is anti-women. Saroj sated that Chandramukhi Devi, was a former Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and now she has been made a member of the Commission for Women. How can someone who doesn’t understand the meaning of women rights speak about the integrity and dignity of women ? It is indeed due to the insensitivity of the administrative system that Kanchanbala of Sitamarhi committed suicide. On the increasing atrocities on women, sociologist, S. Narayan states that the steps that have been taken by the state Government for women’s empowerment are all about politics for votes. This is the reason that the women have become so insecure. No steps have been taken in Bihar from the social point of view. He further adds that the women were given 50 per cent reservation, but if we go and look in the villages we would find their husbands and brothers running the Panchayat on their names. Wherever women have raised their opinions, they have faced atrocities. The main reason behind this is that there is no real social control or welfare outlook, everything is done from the political point of view.