J&K : According to a national daily, there have been 333 cases of ‘torture, sexual violence, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances’ in Jammu and Kashmir over the last 25 years.
‘Structures of Violence: The Indian State in Jammu and Kashmir’, a report produced on the basis of RTIs and testimonies of witnesses, claim that 972 perpetrators or ‘agents of violence’ were responsible for these crimes.
Of these 972 offenders, 464 are army and police personnel from Jammu and Kashmir, 161 paramilitary persons and 189 government gunmen. The list of ‘agents of violence’ also include the names of a Major General, 7 Brigadiers, 31 Colonels, 4 Lt. Colonels, 115 Majors 40 captains and 54 senior officials of the paramilitary forces are named.
“The estimated strength of the forces in Jammu and Kashmir may be placed at 6,56,638. If the number of companies per army battalion are presumed at 10, the estimated strength of the total forces in J&K may be placed at 7,50,981″, the report reads.
The report which analyses “institutionalized impunity and violence” in Jammu and Kashmir will be released in Srinagar today.
An advance copy of the report was shared with The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy.
Jammu & Kashmir has been under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) since September 1990 which gives special power to the Indian Armed Forces in the state.
One out of two children in India face child sexual abuse.
The perpetrators of sexual abuse among children are often close to them and trusted by the family.
The children from economically backward families are often trafficked and abused.
Information, awareness and communication are important tools for handling sexual abuse among children.
Child sexual abuse and child trafficking are rapidly festering problems in India, as a recent survey by World Vision India reveals that out of 45,844 children interviewed, almost half of them have been subjected to sexual abuse. The alarming statistics which indicate the unsafe circumstances faced by children also pose a glaring question: how do we know when a child has been abused?
Child sexual abuse is one of the least addressed issues in India, because of the taboo and the social stigma associated with it. Most children who have been abused refuse to disclose their discomfort out of shame and fear of punishment, as in most cases, the perpetrators of the child sexual abuse are persons who are explicitly trusted by the family. According to a survey conducted by the Government of India in 2007, the sexual abuse of children occurs mostly between the ages of 5 and 12, when they are unable to articulate their pain, as they lack the basic training to discriminate between affection and abuse.
Child trafficking in India
The problem of child sexual abuse in India among children is further intensified by the issue of child trafficking, as many economically backward families with multiple children often engage their children in labour, in an effort to earn their daily subsistence. The children employed in illegal labour are often trafficked away from their homes and even outside the country, where they become victims of child sexual abuse. The education system in India, which is often inaccessible to the children of the underdeveloped sections of the society, also become victims of child trafficking, as they lack the awareness and the information which might protect them from child sexual abuse.
How to combat child sexual abuse
The main weapons in the battle against sexual abuse among children are communication and awareness. Once children learn to identify potential sexual predators, necessary steps may be adopted to ensure their safety and security. The development of a ‘safe space’ for children, where they may confide in adults without the fear of judgement or persecution might encourage them to disclose their concerns, which might help in the identification of potential threats which may hamper their well being.
“Despite one in every two children being a victim of child sexual abuse, there continues to be a huge silence. The magnitude of sexual violence against children is unknown,” states Cherian Thomas, the Director of World Vision India, claiming that one out of four families do not lodge complaints regarding cases of child sexual abuse. The unwillingness to engage in conversations regarding the growing menace of sexual abuse and trafficking among children also pose a major problem while combating with issues that threaten the safety of children. “I feel it is time that we all come under one banner and umbrella to focus our work around child protection,” said Cherian, encouraging parent-child conversation regarding sexual violence, as a measure to combat the prevalence of such crimes.
New Delhi, Nov 9: Five years after the Nirbhaya gang rape case in Delhi, rape survivors are still facing barriers to getting justice in India, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.
Rape survivors in India face significant barriers to obtaining justice and critical support services despite legal and other reforms adopted since the December 16, 2012 gang rape-murder of a 19-year-old physiotherapy intern in the national capital, who came to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’, said the international human rights NGO in an 82-page report “Everyone Blames Me: Barriers to Justice and Support Services for Sexual Assault Survivors in India” released on Wednesday.
The report said women and girls who survived rape and other sexual violence often suffered humiliation at police stations and hospitals.
“Police are frequently unwilling to register complaints, victims and witnesses receive little protection, and medical professionals still compel degrading two finger tests. These obstacles to justice and dignity are compounded by inadequate healthcare, counselling, and legal support for victims during criminal trials of the accused,” an HRW statement said.
“Five years ago, Indians shocked by the brutality of the gang rape in Delhi, called for an end to the silence around sexual violence and demanded criminal justice reforms,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director of HRW.
“Today, there are stronger laws and policies, but much remains to be done to ensure that police, doctors, and courts treat survivors with dignity,” she said.
The HRW said it conducted field research and interviews in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan — selected because of their large number of reported rape cases — as well as Delhi and Mumbai.
The report details 21 cases — 10 cases involving girls under the age of 18.
The findings are drawn from more than 65 interviews with victims, their family members, lawyers, human rights activists, doctors, forensic experts, and government and police officials, as well as research by Indian organisations.
“Under the Indian law, police officers who fail to register a complaint of sexual assault face up to two years in prison. However, Human Rights Watch found that police did not always file a First Information Report (FIR), the first step to initiating a police investigation, especially if the victim was from an economically or socially marginalised community.
“In several cases, the police resisted filing the FIR or pressured the victim’s family to ‘settle’ or ‘compromise’, particularly if the accused was from a powerful family or community,” the statement said.