While one horror story after another emerges from India’s countryside, its intellectuals seem confused about where to draw the line against rape in their own circles.
DELHI — The words “Uttar Pradesh,” the name of the largely impoverished and rural state in northeast India between New Delhi and Nepal, have come to be synonymous with rape. More than 3,000 cases were registered last year, according to official statistics. Nobody can say how many go unreported, and the horror stories just keep on coming. Worse still, in the aftermath of the shocking gang rape and murder of two teenage girls found hanging from a tree on May 27 in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, there has been an alarming spike in crimes against women there.
It’s not like the rest of the country feels much safer. On July 11, a village council in Jharkhand, Bihar, ordered the rape of a 14-year-old girl as punishment for a crime her brother committed. And this is not the first time that the kangaroo courts of rural India have made such appalling judgments. Recently another woman was shot dead for resisting rape in Meghalaya. Since the highly publicized gang rape and murder of a young woman in Delhi in 2012, such reports have become ever more common.