Till now, you all must have seen the viral clip in which a kidnapping attempt was made on 21-year-old Nikita Tomar by a stalker named Tausif during broad daylight in Ballabhgarh, Faridabad. In the viral clip, Nikita can be seen resisting Tausif attempt to force her to get inside a car. After Nikita refused, Tausif shot her point-blank in front of the crowd that had gathered there.
Nikita wasn’t the only one who was shot at during this episode. Shots were also fired at our country’s reputation and the law and order system we all hold dear. Nikita’s family has since alleged that Tausif wanted Nikita to convert to Islam and then marry him. Nikita had refused to his advances, but when your uncle is a Congress MLA then one (Tausif) doesn’t really understand the meaning of the word ‘NO’.
The whole incident caused intense public outrage and the accused was arrested by the cops. A 600-page charge sheet has been filed against the accused which says that the entire incident was a ‘pre-planned’ conspiracy. The issue is currently fresh in people’s minds but inevitably as time passes we all will forget about it. A few days after that, some other woman will get raped or murdered and then the whole cycle of outrage- prolonged investigation- delayed conviction will repeat itself. How to break this cycle?
One thing that could help break this vicious cycle is the establishment of SCAW- Serous Crime Against Women Divison. We know that SCAW will not be able to completely stop all crimes against women but it should help in greatly reducing them.
Why do we need SCAW division?
We have one of the highest crime rates against women in the world, in India, one rape case is filed every 16 minutes totaling to 87 rape cases in just one day. Over four lakh crimes against women cases are registered in India every year. Unfortunately, this rate has only been increasing in the last few years. What is even worse is 99% of all sexual assault cases in India go unreported.
On the other hand, the conviction rate for rapes in the country is at a meagre 27.8% and thousands of women are still waiting for their cases to be resolved. We just need to look at a few high profile cases to understand how difficult it is to get justice for women in this country. Registering complaints, investigation, collecting evidence, interrogating, filing a charge sheet are long and difficult tasks. What makes the situation even worse are forces actively trying to hinder justice.
At a look at the Kathua Rape Case in which an 8-year-old was raped and murdered. Rallies were organized in support of the accused and political pressure was mounted in order to save them. In the Asaram Bapu Rape Case, an entire flock had turned up to save the godman from the law. In Hathras, the victim’s body was cremated by the police against the victim’s family’s wishes. With so many forces working against the attainment of justice, it is a miracle that justice is served in some cases. For example, in the Nirbhya Gang Rape Case which caused massive outrage across the nation. The victims ultimately were hanged for the crimes they had committed but that too seven years after the fact.
All this said, whenever any international publication claims that India is unsafe for women, we deny their claims and actually start hitting back at them. What we need is not denial, what we need right now are solutions and the immediate establishment of a SCAW Division is one of these solutions.
What can SCAW division do?
- SCAW will have the training and the resources that would help in immediately dealing with cases like Kathua, Nirbhaya, Hathras etc
- SCAW would be able to quickly and effectively collect evidence against the perpetrators
- SCAW can take the cases to The Fast Track Courts, ensuring swift justice to the victims
- They can help in getting clear and clean convictions out of these courts
If those who commit crimes against women are able to see that the government is taking strict and quick action against the perpetrators, maybe they would stop committing these crimes? Okay, got a little too optimistic over there; crimes against women won’t completely stop but fear of action and conviction should be able to at least decrease some of the crime statistics we had mentioned earlier. One thing would be certain though, women like Nikita won’t be shot point-blank in broad daylight.
Establishment of SCAW would not only lead to lesser crime it will greatly improve the entire process from investigation to conviction. SCAW will have its won forensic division which will help in the investigation and alsoits own lawyers who will make the case against the accused. We believe that SCAW, which should be placed directly under the Prime Minister or Home Minister, would help in greatly improving women-safety in this country.
Now, SCAW is not just a figment of our imagination, special crime units similar to SCAW have been established before in our nations. Have you heard of Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO)? SFIO was established by the Vajpayee Government back in 2003 after a series of financial scams gripped the nation.
SCAW like units: SFIO and OCSAE
The SFIO doesn’t investigate the common man, it goes after big businessmen, companies, banks and financial institutions that have been taking part in fraudulent activities. If there can be a dedicated unit for investigation high-level frauds why not a separate unit for investigating crimes against women.
Let’s take another example; recently CBI had established a special unit called Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation (OCSAE) Prevention/Investigation Unit. Your normal local police station might not have the necessary skills, training, tools and time to investigate Online Child Abuse cases but OCSAE has all of these things. Recently, OCSAE arrested a Mumbai based artist who used to blackmail children by collecting their nude photos and then used to sell the photos to international ‘clients’.
So, now we know that we already have special units such as SFIO and OCSAE, what we need now is a SCAW division. When potential criminals would daily hear news of rapists being convicted they would think twice before committing any crime against women.
But SCAW is not going to be established overnight, we all will have to come together to demand the establishment of a SCAW Division in India because otherwise the government would just make a new Nirbhaya Fund which would be rarely used and women of the country would still feel uncomfortable about going out at night.