After months of restrictions imposed by the government as a measure against the COVID-19 pandemic, life has started to return to normal. People can step out and move around if they maintain social distancing. Vehicular movement within cities as well as between states has become smoother. In fact, malls, hotels, and places of worship have also reopened in most parts of the country. However, incidents of sexual assaults have also started to reoccur.
On Thursday, three cases of sexual assault from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, and Maharashtra made it to the headlines in India, leaving many horrified once again.
Uttar Pradesh: Nirbhaya-Like Rape Case
A 25-year-old woman travelling with her children from the Pratapgarh district to Noida in Uttar Pradesh was reportedly raped in a moving bus by one of the two drivers present in it. The woman was also threatened against going to the police.
On reaching Noida, the victim told her husband, a humble vegetable vendor, who helped her file an official complaint. The rapist now stares at several counts under the Indian Penal Code, Section 376, punishment for rape, and Section 506, punishment for criminal intimidation.
According to reports, 10 other passengers were travelling in the same bus, but their role in the course of the incident remains undisclosed.
Citing Vrinda Shukla, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Women's Safety), media reported the arrest of one of the two drivers while the other still remains at large.
Kerala Case of Sexual Assault By Priests
The Catholic Church in “God’s Own” Kerala, a state that boasts a 100 percent literacy rate in India, removed two priests – Mathew Mullappally and Joseph Poothottal on Thursday after a woman lodged sexual assault complaints. Both priests were part of the archdiocese of Thalassery in Kerala’s Kannur district.
Disciplinary action was undertaken after a confessional audio of one of the priests found its way to social media.
The victim, whose identity remains secret, is purportedly a young mother who was allegedly abused on multiple occasions in the parish, the media reported.
One of the priests had allegedly recorded his sexual encounter with the victim on his smartphone, which some parishioners later found out about.
Details about the legal line of action in this case remain unclear at present.
Rag-Picker Rapes a Minor in Mumbai’s Dongri
Earlier this month, a seven-year-old girl from the crowded slum area of Dongri in Mumbai was raped and murdered. This week, police officials confirmed the arrest of a 23-year-old man in the case, who also lived in the same area and purportedly confessed to his crime.
The little girl who was out, playing in her locality, was allegedly abducted by the rag-picker. He first forced himself on her and later suffocated her to death.
The family of the girl alerted the police station, where a case of kidnapping was first registered. Upon investigating, police officials unearthed CCTV footage from the area and zeroed it down to one suspect. After an initial denial, the garbage collector purportedly admitted to his crime.
The girl's body was found near the train tracks, close to the area. Her family now wails and demands justice.
CHILD RAPE 😡— Mansoor Ahmed (@291Mansoor) June 17, 2020
CHILD ABUSE 😡
CHILD MURDERED 😡
Where is media? What is police doing?
no media, no news on it. Naima's from dongri Mumbai who was raped & murdered her mother & family asking for justice. Wake up india #justicefornaima 🙏@CMOMaharashtra @MumbaiPolice @RahulGandhi pic.twitter.com/rNZb5e0ol9
It is noteworthy that in all three cases, the accused have been taken into custody but it also testifies that rape cases are beginning to once again find their way to the streets of India.
Amid the lockdown, Delhi registered a notable decline of 83.4 percent in rape complaints, the media reported in April, citing data shared by Delhi police sources.
However, with people restricted to their houses due to the lockdown, India did see a spike in domestic violence incidents.
For instance, the National Commission for Women (NCW) in India filed 587 complaints between 23 March and 16 April, with domestic violence incidences making up 239 complaints.
NCW, the Delhi headquartered women-centric body even launched a WhatsApp number – 72177135372 to help out women in distress.