Update (Dec 27): Praveen Swami has an op-ed in today’s Hindu which provides comparative data on conviction rates for rape in the US and UK, and makes some compelling points on the situation in India.
Much has been said and written about the events unfolding in Delhi over the last few days. Some of the reactions have been just as upsetting, and it is hard to come across sober and meaningful reflection and analysis.
The latest issue of Tehelka relies upon prior reporting to pull together some thought-provoking analyses which are illuminating. This piece tries to contextualise the issues involved, while this collates responses from a number of sociologists, lawyers, and other individuals, some of whom have a long history of engagement with the Indian criminal justice system’s approach to rape and other offences against women. Tehelka is also re-featuring a disturbing sting operation first published in April 2012, where it analysed the attitudes of senior policemen in the Delhi-NCR area to rape.
Almost every commentator acknowledges the enormity of the challenges involved, but these pieces provide a fuller sense of those complexities. Before we can proceed with reforming the law, we need to obtain a proper sense of the terrain, and the exact nature of the problems requiring reform, both in the criminal justice system and the wider social context.