Tirunelveli tops the list with 41 cases in 2012 and Madurai 27 cases
A year after the horrific gang rape incident that led to the death of a 16-year-old physiotherapy student in Delhi, human rights activists opine that despite growing awareness among the public of violence against women, the outrage that the Delhi incident triggered is not being evoked by several low-profile cases.
Referring to the recent gang rape in Karaikal, representatives of civil society organisations say that social bias prevalent at various levels is one of the reasons for the lack of visibility.
Saying that there is an element of truth in the claim that the rise in number of rape cases getting reported is owing to an increasing awareness among the public, Bimla Chandrashekar, Director, Ekta Foundation for Women, feels that the government should bring the culprits to book without any delay.
The media should provide sustained coverage of all cases of violence against women, irrespective of their nature or places of occurrence, she added.
Going by the statistics of the State Crime Records Bureau, the southern districts have actually witnessed a rise in the total number of rape cases in 2013.
According to the statistics, in 2013, as many as 241 rape cases were reported until November, whereas 171 such cases were recorded in 2012. Tirunelveli tops the list with 41 cases in 2012 and Madurai 27 cases. In 2013, up to November, Tirunelveli has again topped with 68 cases, followed by Tuticorin (46).
The mainstream society discriminates between cases of rape, based on the degree of assault on the victim, which is an obstacle in the fight against woman abuse, says A. Kathir, Executive Director, Evidence, a Madurai-based non-governmental organisation.
The government must effectively implement the recommendations of the Justice J. S. Verma Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law, which was constituted to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals committing sexual assault of extreme nature against women.
The activists feel that proper awareness should be created among government officials, especially police and health officials, of the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee.
Students should be sensitised to violence against women and legal action taken against biased police officers who refused to initiate action against the accused in rape cases.
A criminal justice commission should be constituted, they said, and insisted that rape cases should be dealt with by fast track courts.