India: Copycat Rape Crimes? Problem Runs Deeper

January 14th, 2013
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect:  India and the entire world were shocked 16 December 2012 when a gang of seven men attacked and brutally beat a man and his woman companion on a bus in New Delhi and then savagely raped the woman.  The rape victim subsequently died from her wounds.

Friday night 11 January 2013 seven men kidnapped and repeatedly raped a woman who had been riding a bus in Gurdaspur, Punjab.  Police have taken six of the seven men into custody.  The circumsatnces (public transportation, the number of men) raise the spectre of a copycat crime scenario.

Follow up:

On Saturday (12 January 2013) night a 32-year old woman traveling with her son disembarked from a train in Bhagalpur and was dragged to an orchard and gang raped before being hung from a tree.  Suspects are said to be unidentified.

On 02 January 2013 a 16-year old girl was gang raped in Rayagada in Odisha.  She remains hospitalized fighting severe infection from a suicide attempt by self-immolation the day after the crime.

Another teenage girl was raped by a gang of seven on 09 January 2013 in Muzaffarnagar.

Rape has been an increasingly frequent crime in India and sexual impropriety problems have risen about six-fold over the past 30 years.  From CNN:

The number of reported rapes in India -- a country where a cultural stigma keeps many victims from reporting the crime -- has increased drastically, from 2,487 in 1971 to 24,206 in 2011, according to official figures.

Most women in India have stories of sexual harassment and abuse on public transportation or on the streets, said Seema Sirohi, of the Indian Council on Global Relations.

Rather than copycat crimes it seems that the latest horrific events are part of a disturbing pattern that has arisen in India.

Watch the following CNN news video for more details about the Friday night rape in New Delhi:


The details of the case are rather limited in India.  The following from Daily News & Analysis at is identical to what is found at many Indian news sources:

Punjab Police on Saturday confirmed the arrest of six out of the seven men accused of gang-rape of a 30-year-old woman in Gurdaspur Punjab.

The incident took place on Friday night when the victim was on her way to her village in Ghukla in a bus when the driver and conductor kidnapped her and took her to an undisclosed location where they and their five accomplices gang-raped her

The victim lodged a complaint in this regard the next morning following which the police swung into action and arrested six out of the seven accused for the heinous crime.

"She came to the police station next morning with her relatives following which we have taken her statement and successfully arrested six accused in the case," said Jaspal Singh Superintendent of Police Gurdaspur.

"A case under section 376 of IPC punishment for rape was registered against the seven accused," he added.

A later article at the same site about concern for the revelation of the rape victim's name was actually longer than the story above.

A final not regarding the 16 December rape that has received the most publicity.  The defense attorney for one of the accused says that the victim is to blame.  From a CBC News story:

An Indian lawyer defending three of the men charged with rape and murder in connection with a brutal attack on a 23-year-old woman on a New Delhi bus says the victims are to blame for what happened.

"Until today, I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady,"  Manohar Lal Sharma told Bloomberg in an interview from India's capital. "Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect."

He said the two victims should not have been travelling on public transit late in the evening, and the man who was beaten had failed to shield his female companion from harm.

This story emphasizes some of the cultural bias against rape victims in India.  A religious leader has made a statement blaming the victim as well.

Such bias can also occur in other parts of the world.  There is an old cannard:  "She must have asked for it."

How?  Because she was breathing?

Read Prof. Ajay Shah's Op Ed: Law and Order: How to Go from Outrage to Action

John Lounsbury


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