“Startling Numbers: 4,05,861 Cases of Crimes Against Women in India in 2019 & 370,000 Last Year Alone!” – Acknowledging International Women’s Day Amid India’s ‘Rape Capital’ Status.

International Women’s Day is being observed worldwide to acknowledge the outstanding contributions by women in different fields across the globe. The day aims to raise awareness about women’s equality. Whereas, New Delhi, one of the most unsafe cities for women in India, is often dubbed as the “rape capital”. Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “The bitter truth is that many Indians don’t consider women to be human”. Between 2018 and 2019, India reported 4,05,861 cases of crimes against women out of which 59,583 incidents were reported in the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) as per the National Crime Record Bureau’s 2019 “Crimes in India”. In 2020, more than 28,000 cases of rape were reported across India, an average of 77 in a day, according to a report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The NCRB data from September 2021 also showed that more than 370,000 cases of crimes against women were reported in the country in the previous year. Experts believe the real figures are much higher as many women do not report such cases due to fear or shame or both. The women of IIOJK have been facing with an unending ordeal of terror and trauma due to frequent abductions, sexual violence, illegal detentions and molestations at the hands of Indian security forces on the pretext of ‘Cordon and Search Operations’. Modi’s Hindutva supremacist government continues to use rape and molestation as a ‘weapon of war’ and ‘collective punishment’ in the occupied territory to suppress the legitimate right to freedom of the innocent Kashmiri people. It is a sheer violation of the international humanitarian and human rights law and UN Security Council’s resolutions. The horrific acts of violence, mental torture, aggressions and ruthless brutalities against women had turned life into a worse nightmare in the valley. According to the Human Rights Watch, Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) shields the Indian security forces from prosecution from their crimes of sexual violence. The draconian nature of the act has been described as breach of the international human rights law by members of the international community.  Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights (UDHR), urges that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”. Contrary to that, the women of IIOJK are subject to atrocities at the hands of Indian occupying forces, where they are being subject to gang-raped and molested for the past seven decades. Since 1989, 22,958 women widowed and 11,256 are molested by brutal Indian forces. The world must wake up from deep slumber to contain sexual violence being used as war tactics in the occupied territory.