In light of the recent brutal gang rape on Dec. 16, which
led to the death of a 23-year-old medical student in India, there have been
substantial criticisms of the government for not doing enough to protect women.
Protestors say they will continue till they are satisfied that real action is
But in demanding action, the protesters should keep in mind the people
who they're appealing to. According to a recent report,
a shockingly high number of members of India's national parliament (MPs) and members of state-level legislative assemblies (MLAs) have actually been accused themselves of crimes against women, including rape.
for Democratic Reforms (an affiliate of the Indian Institute of Management)
compiled the report, using the affidavits filed by candidates as part of their nomination
papers that are submitted to India's Electoral Commission. In other words, this
was all public information at the time these members were elected.
According to the report, in the past five years:
6 MLAs had charges of rape against them at the
time of their election
36 MLAs have charges of crimes against women
including assault and "insulting the modesty" of a woman
2 MPs have charges against them of using cruelty
to outrage a woman's modesty
27 candidates for state elections are accused
with raping women
260 candidates for state elections are accused
of crimes against women
These were hardly the only crimes listed in the report. Other
included: assault, murder (one
man had 8 charges of attempted murder), defiling a place of worship,
promoting enmity between different groups, rioting and dacoity (banditry). Many
of these crimes also included violence against women.
The Association for Democratic Reforms has advocated that
"cases against MPs and MLAs should be fast tracked and decided upon in a time
based manner." This presumably would be similar to the recently inaugurated fast
track rape courts created to deter tragic incidents like Dec. 16. Though, in
typical fashion, police were late to submit
evidence on time (something about difficulty in using a thumb drive).
But with so many accused rapists in government, it's little wonder that it has
taken so long for rape to be taken seriously as a problem.
Photo by NARINDER NANU/AFP/GettyImages