ASIA/INDIA - "Rape is social alarm", says the Church

Monday, 26 August 2013

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - "We strongly and unequivocally condemn the recent gang rape of a photojournalist in Mumbai. A crime against women such as rape is a crime against humanity. It is urgent to immediately stop this violence so that all of our women can feel safe and secure": this is what was said in a message sent to Fides by the Jesuit, Fr. Cedric Prakash, director of the Centre for Human Rights and Justice "Prashant", in Gujarat, raising the alarm of the Church for the scourge of violence against women in Indian society. "Those responsible for this heinous and unacceptable act must be brought to justice. The government, the police and other relevant authorities must ensure this. Crimes against women continue to increase with impunity throughout the country", says the Jesuit.
Violence, he recalls, often affects minorities and weak sectors of society: "Five years ago, tribal Christian women were brutalized in every way possible in Kandhamal, in Orissa. One cannot even forget the Muslim women subjected to unthinkable violence during the Gujarat carnage in 2002. Some time ago, some Dalit students in Gujarat were subject to constant sexual violence by their teachers. A student at the University of Manipal, Karnataka, was raped a few months ago by the members of a group of Hindu extremists and nationalists". Fr. Prakash continues: "We continue to hear about these terrible crimes every day. The perpetrators often go unpunished thanks to the protection of some sectors of society. In addition, when it comes to the poor, marginalized, Dalits, Adivasis and women belonging to minorities, there is almost no protest from civil society, or even media coverage". For this reason, he concludes, the whole society needs new awareness. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 26/08/2013)