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Last week, a shocking news surfaced from Hyderabad which showcased the deep-rooted problems in India. A 25 year-old woman came forward to register an FIR regarding rape and sexual abuse – against 139 people. She said that these incidents took place over 5000 times spread across 10 years. The FIR has been lodged in Panjagutta station invoking 3 different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The accused range from politicians to media personalities and even members of the Telugu film industry. It all started in 2009 when she got married to a man in Miryalaguda and she faced harassment from her relatives. She divorced him in 2010 hoping to leave such horrifying experiences in her past. However, her troubles didn’t stop there as other people continued to exploit her and perform unspeakable acts on her. She was also gang-raped multiple times and forced to abort. She couldn’t come forward before because she was subjected to threats on the basis of her caste but took the step after receiving moral support from a NGO.

The family members have stated that she had asked to register a case before but the police didn’t help her. However she is being helped now and is being given police protection as she is still facing threats from her perpetrators. They are threatening her even now by saying that they will murder her family or lodge cases against her which means that she will have to pay litigation fees which is a huge undertaking for a simple middle class family. Whether the allegations made by her were true or not, are yet to be investigated.

This incident highlights one of the biggest obstacles in India towards holding people accountable for any crime. As long as the politicians are in cahoots with the police, it is a challenging and even scarring experience for people to obtain justice. Every now and then there is a sudden uproar over rape cases and then as it moves away from the spotlight and the changes don’t take place. Only 1% rape cases get reported and unless the case gets it’s moment in the sunlight, it takes time for the perpetrators to be caught or in many cases they even walk free. Such a huge problem can’t be affecting India anymore but solving it will not only require a change in policies/judicial system but also a change in people’s mindset. It will be unfair to say that no progress has been made in this aspect since the infamous Nirbhaya incident but we still have a long way to go to make this country truly safe for women.

Reporter: Rishit Roy