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India Ends Women's Safety Task Force Even Though Reports of Rape Are Sky-High

The task force was created to help local police better deal with rape accusations and prosecutions. Despite record high reports of sexual abuse, the task force is deemed no longer necessary.

by Amy Martyn
Jul 26 2016, 8:30pm

Image by Ramesh Lalwani via Flickr

Earlier this month, officials from India's Union Home Ministry announced that the Special Task Force for women's safety–created in 2013 to crackdown on reports of sexual assault and rape in the country's capital of New Delhi–would be disbanded.

The task force was created in the wake of a brutal and widely publicized 2012 gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman who was attacked while riding a bus. The case electrified protests abroad and forced Westerners to recognize the grim dangers that women in India's capital city face simply by being in public. Activists in India blamed New Delhi's police for fostering a culture that protected rapists rather than their victims, and accused local police of being inefficient.

"The task force should not be disbanded," Jitender Singh, a political activist based in New Delhi tells Broadly, "because it is the best coordination between Delhi and the central government."

According to a local press outlet, New India Express, incidents of sexual assault and molestation remain sky-high in the capital. Toward the end of 2015, there were 1,750 cases of rape and 4,406 cases of molestation reported, making it the highest number of reported incidents in 15 years for the same period, the paper reports. Though police allege that 90 percent of the cases were solved, they only resulted in nine convictions.

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One of those cases was a 14-year-old New Delhi girl who was allegedly raped at the end of 2015. Though she reported her assailant and rape to police, she was kidnapped by a member of the assailant's family the day before she was scheduled to face him in court this May. He allegedly raped her several more times and forced her to drink a corrosive, acid-like substance. The girl died from her injuries this Sunday.

This case comes on the heels of another report from an area just outside of Delhi of a girl who was drugged and gang-raped twice by the same attackers.

When the local press asked police why the girl's alleged rapist was still on the loose, they reported: "Delhi Police claimed that they arrested the accused [rapist] Shivshankar thrice, but the victim turned hostile."