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Monday, December 6, 2021
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What happens behind the bars? Rape and sexual harassment in prisons of India

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Article by: Sneha Singha, The North-Eastern Chronicle

Visual by: Subham Kr Dey

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Prisons provide four primary functions. Retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, and rehabilitation. Punishment for crimes against society is referred to as retribution. Criminals’ freedom is taken away as a means of having them pay a debt to society for their misdeeds.

Life is a killer, both psychologically and physically, in the dark and dank cells of Indian prisons. Some people choose or are pushed, to follow the path of crime, and the long arm of the law eventually catches up with them.

What happens behind the bars?

Rape
Representative Image Used

India’s jails are notorious for their poor conditions. To obtain information or confessions, beatings and torture are commonplace. Overcrowding, filthy cells, poor hygiene, and a flagrant disdain for basic human rights have all been documented.

custodial rape Rape The North-Eastern Chronicle
Representative Image Used

In jail, custodial rape and sexual assault are two of the most under-reported and under-discussed issues. Even though our society is extremely sensitive to rape and other forms of sexual assault against women, which is understandable given the fact that they have created widespread fear, we fail to identify the same in men. When inmates report similar incidents, it is even more neglected.

Prison rape is a particularly heinous kind of inmate mistreatment. According to V R Krishna Iyer’s book “The Dialectics and Dynamics of Human Rights in India,” prison rape includes both different and same sex assault.

Case Study

Two jailers in Rajasthan’s Khetri Jail bailed out a woman and kept her for a week, raping her every day. Similar incidents were highlighted in a 1974 report by the All Bengal Women’s Association on women prisoners in Calcutta’s Presidency Jail.

Meena had arrived in Elisaar jail in a terrified state, unable to walk, with her rectum and vaginal area torn and bleeding, and she had gone insane after being held in police custody for twenty-two days following her detention and violently raped by five or six police officers.

She was from a Nepalese hamlet, and the irony was that she had been condemned to a “simple detention” for seven days, which was exactly what she had received. There have been a slew of other examples of female inmates being sexually harassed.

Rape and Sexual violence in prison

Sexual violence in prison Rape The North-Eastern Chronicle
Representative Image Used

Rape and other sexual assaults against prisoners are common, and these acts are frequently justified by not only the custodial staff but also by other inmates, on the grounds that the criminal had been made to suffer in the same way that the victim had been made to suffer because, after all, they are considered demons.

Due to the apathetic attitude of the police and other justice machineries, the prison rape cases and the sexual assault cases fail to come into the limelight. Justice is for all and all should have the access to justice, this is something that our Constitution believes in and had expressly laid down in Article 14 and in Article 21.

Fundamental Rights are rarely enforced

In the case of inmates, fundamental rights are rarely enforced. Inside the prison, statistics reveal that rape or sexual assault is committed more frequently against males than against women, and the Indian Penal Code, oddly, does not recognise rape against men.

To make matters worse, members of the LGBTQ+ community are much more vulnerable in prison. It’s not just about lust or sexual enjoyment; it’s about the power and control that one or more convicts can exert over the weaker inmates in order to establish their supremacy and create a threat environment in which no inmate can stand up to the aggressive and stronger groups.

In India, prisons must be well-established, with new and improved rules that provide offenders with a better life while incarcerated. In addition, a central committee should ensure that convicts are treated well by police officers, and every intended defendant should be forced to attend the magistrate within the stipulated 24-hour period.

Also Read: Heinous! Two Minor Girls Brutally raped and forced to drink pesticide by Migrant Workers in Haryana, both succumbed to injuries; 4 arrests arrests

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