Save our children: Better policing and quicker justice needed to prevent sexual
predators. Horrific details emerging about serial rapist Sunil – recently arrested in Delhi
for raping a minor girl and attempting to rape three others – highlight the glaring
vulnerability of children to sexual predators in this country. Sunil has confessed to abusing
around 500 children over a span of 12 years. He also confessed that he has raped 20 girls
in the past 5 years.
In February last year, he was even jailed for 3 months for sexually assaulting a girl in
Uttarakhand, before obtaining bail. Yet, none of this deterred him from preying on young
children in the Delhi, western UP and Uttarakhand belt. The only way to ban sexual
predators like Sunil is through better policing, a quicker justice system and higher
convictions in child abuse cases.
Such cases are highly under-reported due to the young age of the victims, but higher
and more visible convictions would encourage more reporting, unleashing a virtuous cycle
of even more convictions. Hence, protecting children requires the justice machinery to
mobilize additional effort. However, this will only be possible when police are
appropriately equipped and trained.
According to the Bureau of Police Research and Development, there are 402 police
stations in the country that don’t even have a phone line. Plus, more than 7 years after
being conceptualized, the Rs 2,000 crore project to digitize crime records and connect
nearly 14,000 police stations remains incomplete. At a time when the Centre is pushing for
a digital economy, digitally networked policing should be a natural outcome.
The Union minister for women & child development, Maneka Gandhi has reiterated
the demand for a national registry of sex offenders, a good suggestion. This again requires
police stations to be equipped to update, collate and share the information on the registry.
It’s high time that police reforms, long enjoined by the Supreme Court, are actually
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