In recent years, the global spotlight has shifted to a deeply unsettling issue that has plagued India—the alarming prevalence of sexual violence. The country is not safe for foreign women as seen in several instances of sexual assault, with victims recalling traumatic ordeals ranging from harassment to rape. Such events not only left the survivors devastated, but they also exposed the real face of the so-called Indian progressive Society. No locale seems immune to these barbaric misfortunes, whether occurring in bustling markets or peaceful rural areas.
Women across India continue to suffer routine domestic violence, acid attacks, rape, and murder. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation London – India ranks number one as the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labor, according to a poll of global experts. Moreover, the country also ranks number one on the index measuring gender inequality.
More than 115,000 instances of crimes against women occurred between 2008 and 2010, with an increase of 10.6% in 2009. According to Crime Statistics of India, approximately 27 crimes are committed against women every day. In the year 2021 – for which the government released crime data – India recorded the highest number of crimes against women in history. As disclosed in Indian government’s own data, of the six million crimes that police in India recorded between 1 January and 31 December last year, 428,278 cases involved crimes against women. It’s a rise of 26.35% over six years – from 338,954 cases in 2016.
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Police reported 31,878 rapes; this represents a significant increase above the 28,153 rapes that were reported in 2016, which totaled 39,068 women. As a recent example, rape and murder of two teenage girls in a village in the Budaun district of Uttar Pradesh, which was followed by numerous other human rights violations and violence against women in the same state, has sparked widespread outrage and called into question the state government’s ability to maintain law and order. With tens of thousands of rape cases reported annually, India has earned the moniker “the rape capital of the world”. Much of the credit for these deteriorating women rights situation in India unquestionably goes to the Modi-led BJP and its narrow Hindutva ideology.
Local Indian women have struggled with sexual exploitation for a very long time, from incidents taking place in the streets to public transit. Unfortunately, the disturbing tendency is becoming more widespread as foreign women are now exposed to comparable risks to their safety and well-being. A timeline of famous sexual assault incident, that occurred in India provides bone-chilling closure to social realities in the country.
The Language School Incident (Mumbai, 2017): A woman from Italy who was taking a language course in Mumbai said that her language teacher had harassed her sexually. The incident highlighted the significance of creating safe spaces for international students and raised questions about the safety of foreigners in educational settings.
The Beach Resort Assault (Kerala, 2018): A female British citizen was among a group of foreign tourists staying at a seaside resort in Kerala. After gaining their trust, a resort employee offered to show them around. He is accused of assaulting the British tourist during the visit.
The Medical Tourism Incident (Chennai, 2019): A Middle Eastern patient who had flown to India for medical care complained that a hospital employee had sexually abused her. This incident brought attention to the weaknesses of medical tourists and the need for specialized security measures in healthcare facilities.
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The Volunteer Program Exploitation (Rajasthan, 2020): A local coordinator is accused of sexually assaulting a young female American volunteer who was taking part in a rural development initiative. The incident raised questions about the security of foreign volunteers and sparked debates over the screening practices for organizations that host foreign volunteers.
The Diplomat’s Daughter Case (New Delhi, 2021): The daughter of a foreign ambassador allegedly experienced sexual assault while at a party in New Delhi. Due to the involvement of diplomatic circles, this case attracted attention on a global scale, highlighting the necessity to strike a balance between victim justice and diplomatic immunity.
The Digital Dating Assault (Bangalore, 2022): A foreigner who met an Indian person using a dating app claimed that she was raped during their first in-person encounter. This incident highlighted the necessity for understanding permission even in digital contacts and raised questions about online safety.
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While PM Narendra Modi and his ruling BJP remain absolutely focused on assuming the role of a leading nation-state in Asia, the party and its leadership scarcely ever look inwards toward raging gender, ethnic and religious issues. These issues have now gained the tendency to critically corrupt not only India’s social fabric but also disrupt regional peace and stability. India has now become a country where cows receive more rights and protection than a living-breathing woman-the cradle of all life itself. Modi government itself and the international community as a whole must stand up for the protection of fundamental rights of women in India regardless of their ethnicity, religion or nationality.