Cardinal Gracias: the gang rape in Mumbai, a sign of India’s social and spiritual decline

 

Cardinal Oswald Gracias 3

by Nirmala Carvalho
In the capital of Maharashtra, a 22-year-old photojournalist was attacked and raped by five men, who are now all in custody. The victim is in hospital and out of danger. For the archbishop of Mumbai, Indians must “bring God back at the centre of our lives [. . .] and follow the values of the Gospel. For the president of the Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), “Our system of values is seriously compromised.”

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The brutal gang rape of a young photojournalist in Mumbai “reflects the decline in the spiritual, social and cultural life of our country. It is urgent to bring God back at the centre of our lives-in the family, in society, in the workplace-and lead us to the values ​​of the Gospel,” said Card Oswald Gracias.

Speaking to AsiaNews about the latest case of sexual assault that shocked the nation, the archbishop of Mumbai said that the incident, which occurred on 22 August, produced “deep anguish and anger.” It “is the worst thing a woman can undergo. Rape is physical and psychological terrorism, an abominable crime against the honour of women.”

The victim, a young 22-year-old photojournalist, was working as an intern at an English-language magazine based in Mumbai. Accompanied by a colleague, on that day she went to Shakti Mills, an abandoned former textile factory, to make a photo shoot. As they were leaving at the end of their work, they were attacked.

Surrounded by three men, they were told that they were not allowed to take pictures. The young woman phoned her boss, who told her to leave right away.

Then things got worse. The men, five of them at this point, beat up and tied the woman’s colleague; then dragged her behind a wall, turned off her cell phone and gang raped her.

According to the police, who eventually arrested all the suspects, the attackers forced the victim to clean up her own blood at the scene. At present, the young woman is in hospital in stable condition.

Maharashtra’s chief minister ordered a speedy trial against the five men, who are aged 18 to 23. Their case is similar to another serious gang rape in New Delhi, in December 2012.

“Unfortunately, our women and our children suffer violence and abuse even in their families, as well as in a society that humiliates, degrades, discriminates, excludes and exploits them,” Card Gracias told AsiaNews. “As morality is corroded and values corrupted, our system of values is seriously compromised.”

“The Church is a tool to serve society and the nation through education and our facilities,” the CBCI president said.

“I have already asked our schools to inculcate the values ​​of justice and respect for gender not only to students but also to parents. Mothers and fathers are important in raising awareness of how we treat women in our families. The Church in Mumbai and all of India will encourage a noble culture and society, built on equality, justice and respect between men and women. ”

For decades, the Indian Church has dedicated 8 September, feast day of theNativity of Mary, to girls.

Young students, Mumbai, India

Young students, Mumbai, India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bombay was safe. Is Mumbai safe?: Julio Rebeiro.

Super Cop of Yesteryears, Speakes about Mumbai: THEN AND NOW..

Julio Ribeiro

Julio Ribeiro: Former Police Commissioner of Mumbai

I was born in Bombay. Eighty-four years later I live in the same city, re-christened Mumbai which is very different from the Bombay I grew up in. As a student of Law in 1950 I used to attend the Sessions Courts to follow criminal trials. There were no adjournments asked or granted, hearings were from day to day and judgments delivered on the spot at the end of the arguments. Most murder cases ended in convictions and the few rape cases I heard concerned young girls below the statutory age, who had got involved in love
affairs.
In 1950 after graduating in Commerce and Law I was employed as a sub-editor in a leading English daily the National Standard under HY Sharada Prasad. After a night shift I would return home by train from Victoria Terminus. Groups of young women returning from the Telephone Exchange, which also worked in shifts, were a common sight. And there was never any problem.
My first fifteen years in the Indian Police were spent in the districts. I remember only one case of rape and that was committed by a truant policeman on duty in the Adivasi area of Peint in the Nasik Distt. As Acting Superintendent of Police I had the policeman arrested and charged in record time. Such swift action was not uncommon in those days. And in less than a year the policeman was convicted and sentenced to a long term in jail. The certainty of retribution was a potent deterrent.
In my growing years Bombay was a safe city for women to travel. I think it still is despite Shakti Mill. My sister used to go to school and later to college by public bus alone and unaccompanied. Thirty years later we sent our daughters to live in a Mumbai college hostel without fear for their safety. Our city was safe, unlike Delhi, where I was posted for three years and the women complained of lecherous men in public buses. 
The population of the city has increased by a multiple of ten from the time of my birth. There is no discipline and no respect for the law or for fellow-citizens. Even the law makers break traffic and other rules! The police too have become indifferent to their core duties.
It is sad to hear stories of victims being asked to pay for getting their complaints registered and later for tracing the culprits. This did not happen thirty years ago when officers took pride in their work and would not rest till the criminals were brought to book.
This change in attitude at the level of the investigating officer is noticed even among supervisors who no longer command the same respect as my colleagues and I enjoyed. Corruption in the senior ranks was almost non-existent.
Most of today’s officers cultivate ‘godfathers’ from among the political class. Their juniors are even more adept in the art since the great majority of our elected representatives hail from the same stock.
In this scenario it is easy to operate if you harbour criminal intentions. Pelf or sheer indifference of the law enforcers will bail you out of trouble if by mischance you are caught. In better days directly-recruited supervisors would ensure that defaulters were dissuaded or were punished. Today many supervisors lack the moral authority to tell their men to behave.
If the police are to return to their professional agenda it is absolutely essential that this unhealthy relationship between them and the politicians should be jettisoned. It is the duty of the elected representatives to keep a hawk’s eye on the policemen and their leaders and bring all transgressions to notice. This was the case when I joined service in the fifties.
The Home Minister Mr. RR Patil should try to understand this essential premise. He has been at the wrong end of the stick for his unfortunate comments and his penchant for moral policing. His problem with bar dancers emanates from the fact that his rural supporters have burnt their fingers in dance bars. Actually, he is better than many of his predecessors who routinely encouraged the wrong people. 
Where I disagree with him is about Police Reforms. If introduced in spirit these should help him to have a more professional police force. Corruption will decline by more than fifty percent overnight and the quality of policing will improve if the reforms go through. 
His colleagues in his own party, however, are not interested. They want to control postings and transfers. And they do not care if the current dispensation does not induce fear of the law in the minds of rapists like the boys involved in the Shakti Mill episode.

Published Date:  Aug 29, 2013 : DNA

Women need equality, not protection: Virginia Saldanha.

Until things change fundamentally, India remains unsafe for females.

Mumbai: 

The gang rape of a young photojournalist on August 22 in Mumbai is just the latest in a string of such brutal attacks across India.

In each case, the media moves into overdrive by capturing every frame and soundbite to maximize the sensational aspects of the crimes. As well, the vocal urban middle class gathers in public squares to express their collective outrage.

But the rapes of poor and lower caste women in remote villages go unreported or get buried in statistical records in the crimes bureau.

Instead of helping to manufacture outrage, the media needs to approach these appalling crimes with greater sensitivity, while focusing on the attackers rather than the victims. This will put more pressure on the legal system to function properly, while ensuring that victims and their families stay out of the public gaze so they can heal.

In the case of the Mumbai photojournalist, the media have targeted the survivor, her family and the families of the accused – thereby compounding their pain.

The photojournalist, who works for an English magazine, was gang raped at an abandoned textile factory in the city, where she had gone on assignment along with a colleague. Police arrested all five alleged attackers in less than a week.

The speed of the arrests is laudable, but the knee-jerk response to the attack by RR Patil, home minister of Maharashtra state, is not.

Patil has offered police protection to all women journalists, a move that implies that women need protection because authorities cannot prevent men from attacking them, or that men lack the capacity to view women as human beings rather than objects to be abused.

The myth that women require protection serves only to restrict their freedom and rob them of their confidence and opportunities.

Authorities have touted the updated Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013, but it cannot ensure that police will function efficiently or that the justice system will mete out speedy justice so that survivors of these brutal attacks can move on with their lives. And so, India remains unsafe for all females.

Greater pressure is needed to urge the government to introduce much-needed police reforms that have been in the pipeline for years. Police should not allow politicians to hamper their investigations or divert their attention from preventing crimes.

Various reports have shown that police patrolling is weak in crime-prone areas of Mumbai because nearly 28,000 of the city’s 49,000 police officers have been deployed for the protection of so-called ‘very important persons’, which translates as politicians and bureaucrats.

Also, the government urgently needs to appoint more judges to clear the backlog of cases in the courts and avoid lengthy trials. It is distressing to hear relatives of women who have lost their lives in attacks lament the time it takes to seek justice. They suffer more than the perpetrators, most of whom never get convicted.

The conviction rate countrywide for crimes against women is as low as 24.2 percent. Some 70 percent of rape-accused in jails are repeat offenders. These statistics show that crimes against women are not taken seriously in the country. When this is the message, there is hardly any deterrent for those who commit the crimes.

How can India change a deeply rooted mindset that views women as objects that are free for the taking by men? And given that society generally looks upon rape survivors as “damaged goods,” how do we help these victims overcome the fear or shame of reporting rape, incest and other forms of sexual abuse instead of remaining silent for the sake of family honor?

Men have been brought up to believe that they are a privileged class and therefore above women. Across class and caste, most boys are brought up like little kings surrounded by doting grandmothers, defensive mothers, subservient sisters and submissive wives. This instills in them notions of power, privilege and entitlement they have done nothing to deserve.

Change of the sort needed in India does not happen in a short span of months. Systems and mindsets must be altered. In the meantime, women will be forced to take responsibility for their own safety. They cannot allow the threat of violence to curb their mobility, their studies or their employment opportunities. Women must remain confident but prudent while enjoying their right to freedom.

Virginia Saldanha is the former executive secretary of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences Office of Laity and a freelance writer and advocate for women’s issues based in Mumbai

Source: ucanews.com

Women Equality ,Mumbai ,Photojournalist ,Gangrape ,Women Protection 
Mumbai police headquarters fort

Mumbai police headquarters fort (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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