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Mumbai incident revives debate on 'rape culture'

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The gangrape of a a 22-year old photojournalist in Mumbai has again revived the debate on the reasons behind failure to curb violence against women.

"Unfortunately, rape culture is not steadily creeping in the fabric of India, it is deep rooted and ingrained in our social consciousness at every level.

"Even great Indian poets and writers have made spontaneous blunders bringing in sexism in literature and calling women powerless," Devi Prasad Tripathi, MP and General Secretary, Nationalist Congress Party said.

In a panel discussion organised today by Apne Aap Women Worldwide (AAWW) and Press Club of India, the particpants emphasised on the need to bring about significant changes in mindset to curb such crimes.

Tripathi emphasised that society has to look differently at women, who are often addressed to as 'abala' (powerless).

"Despite new amendments, there is no fear of law among people. Our justice delivery mechanism is slow, cases are not tracked in fast-track courts. The ratio of policemen to people is extremely low, then how does one bring about respect for law," CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said.

He said that merely talking about sexuality is not enough, and the need of the hour is a change in material condition in which society exists.

"What we today have is a deadly cocktail of 'modernoxity' brewing in our country. We are intoxicated by modernity but we do not practice modernity," he said.

Debates over the social media that have gained momentum post the Mumbai gangrape case also draw attention to the unwillingness to talk openly about sex leading to increasing number of crimes against women.

"People are willing to watch porn clips quietly but unwilling to accept it publicly. This is the highest level of mental perversion," said Parliamentarian Tathagata Satapathy, who is also a member of Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

"Lack of education, is the nerve of the problem," he said.

As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), rape cases rose by 23.43 per cent in the capital city post the December 16 gangrape incident despite protests and subsequent amendments in rape laws.

The panel, which also comprised Parliamentarian Vandana Chavan and Abhilasha Kumari, Director AAWW, condemned the recurrence of rape cases across the country.

The panel said that a multi-pronged approach to tackle the issue must be devised, inclusive of strict laws, their implementation and education beginning at the grassroots.

First Published: Sat, August 24 2013. 19:55 IST