The media and violence against women in 'Maya's UP'

 

Bhanu Pratap Singh

[Why is every crime in Uttar Pradesh reported as happening in 'Maya's U.P', while similar incidents in other states are not publicized as happening in 'Sheila's Delhi' or 'Reddy's AP'? This article discusses the sordid casteist politics behind the media's consistent negative coverage of 'Maya's UP', and the Congress and other brahminical parties' frequent and melodramatic public displays of concern for the marginalized sections in the state- Round Table India

mayawati00111222121

In recent months there has been a sudden increase in news reports concerned with violence on women, particularly rape, this increased reporting is a welcome trend. Though not too surprised at the regular occurrence, I was curious how mainstream media finally found it important enough to deploy more of its resources to gather and disseminate news about this aspect of Indian society. I also noticed a peculiar trend: almost all the articles were reporting crimes only from the state of Uttar Pradesh. This trend was uniformly reflected in all the major mainstream media outlets and started appearing in the Western media too. Dalit activists have for so long decried the lack of media attention and sensitivity in reporting crimes on dalit women, who experience violence routinely as a result of the caste heirarchy, and now suddenly these news reports were front page stories. What brought about this change of heart?

A closer look at the stories shows they share amazingly similar scripts, with similar characters. The repoters all have surnames like Pandeys/Tiwaris/Sharmas; visiting the victims in UP,  talking to some congress leaders (Joshis/Tiwaris/Dubeys) and finding some special breed of dalit activists (Manyawar Kanshiram ji has written a whole book about them; their origin, character, activities and their ultimate fate, in 'Chamcha Age”) and finally ending with some references to inputs from local reporters, again some Tripathis/Tiwaris/Sharmas.

Though I am a native of UP, I travel extensively on work and I make it a point to read the local newspapers in the big cities and small towns. I have a fair idea of how crimes against women are usually reported in the mainstream and local media in most parts of the country.

Could the media be so cynical and devious as to selectively gather and disseminate information about rapes on women?

This made me look for some reliable data to find an explanation.

The National Crimes Records Bureau of India, (NCRB.nic.in), a central govt agency under Ministry of Home Affairs, records all the data about crimes in various parts of India and publishes an annual report. Currently it hosts the data up to 2009, with the report for 2010, likely to be published by the end of the year.

I am sharing here the results of my analysis and request your feedback to improve upon the  analysis and the inferences.

Chapter 5 (crimes against women), in compendium-2009, shows a chart, which by any standards,  is disturbing, even to a layman. The chart depicts the change of rate of crimes against women from year 1999-2009. Take a careful look, and you  will notice the crime graph takes a sudden jump from year 2004 and since then continues its steady high- growth trajectory, without any hindrance.

Year 2004, is indeed  the year when the Congress Govt., came into power, and India became Sonia Gandhi’s (Rahul Gandhi’s) India. 

crime_graph

The introduction of the chapter reads like this:

“A total of 2,03,804 incidents of crime against women (both under IPC and SLL) were reported in the country during 2009 as compared to 1,95,856 during 2008 recording an increase of 4.1% during 2009. These crimes have continuously increased during 2005 - 2009 with 1,55,553 in 2005, 1,64,765 cases in 2006, 1,85,312 cases in 2007, 1,95,856 cases in 2008 and 2,03,804 cases in 2009.

Andhra Pradesh, accounting for nearly 7.1% of the country’s population, has accounted for 12.5% of total crimes against women in the country by reporting 25,569 cases. West Bengal with 7.6% share of country’s population has accounted for nearly 11.4% of total crime against women by reporting 23,307 cases in 2009.”

From the above chart and its legend, it is abundantly clear that crimes against women has peaked during the Congress rule and it is Congress-ruled Andhra Pradesh, which tops the chart and beats all other states hands down.

Uttar Pradesh as compared to the  nation

Using the statistics provided for the year 2009, in table 5.2, which lists the crimes against women state-wise under various heads (rape, molestation, sexual harassment and others, including the total crimes against women), let’s have a look at how Uttar Pradesh fares as compared to India.

Rate of incidence(Year 2009)

Crime

Incidences/day

Rate of crime/Lakhs(population)

India          

Uttar Pradesh    

India           

Uttar Pradesh

Rape

58.6

4.8

1.8

0.9

Molestations

106.1

7.6

3.3

1.4

Cruelty by husbands

245.3

23.5

7.7

4.4

All crimes against women

558.4

63.7

17.4

11.9

 

Figures for 2009

 

India         

Uttar Pradesh 

UP's share in all india

Total population (in Lakhs)

11694.44

1955.22

16.7

Rape

21397

1759

8.2

Molestations

38711

2782

7.2

Cruelty by husbands

89546

8566

9.6

All crimes against women

203804

23254

11.4

From the above chart, it’s clear that: 

  1. Every day, in various parts of India, 59 women are raped, 106 women molested and 558 various other crimes happen against women
  2. The national average is 59 Rapes/Day, Uttar Pradesh's share is 4.8. 

This means the majority of rape cases are distributed in other regions of the country. Yet, news reports of the last couple of months have almost exclusively reported rapes from UP, without referring to the above crucial data point.

The above data forces us to ask a couple of questions:

  1.  Why only rapes in Uttar Pradesh are being reported in the media, are the rapes of women in other regions unworthy of media attention?
  2. Is there a hierarchy to rapes? Like castes, where certain rapes are more significant as compared to rapes in other parts. 
  3. Though Uttar Pradesh constitutes about 16.7% of India’s total population, its relative share in crimes against women, as compared to all of India is much lower; for rapes it is 8.2%. Naturally, much remains to be done to reduce this to zero and this is our prime concern, but we also have to get a few basic facts down.
  4. The rate of crime as a ratio of population: women are twice at danger of being victim of crimes in other parts of india, as compared to Uttar Pradesh. 
  5. The chances of incidences of rape are 200% higher, and the incidence of molestation is 235% higher  for women in other parts of India as compared to Uttar Pradesh. 

Ranking of various Indian states with respect to crime rate (rape incidences).

  1. It is the Congress-ruled state of Assam which tops the list, with 5.4, 300% higher crime rate as compared to national average.
  2. 6 of the total 8 states ruled by the Congress have higher incidences of rape as compared to national average.
  3. All 8 states ruled by Congress have higher incidences of rape as compared to BSP ruled Uttar Pradesh.
  4. Among the 25 states listed, Uttar Pradesh ranks at 22nd position, and emerges as the state with  the least incidences of rape, see table III.
 

State ranking based on No. of Rapes/Lakh Population

Rank

State

Crime Rate(only Rape)

1

ASSAM

5.3

2

ARUNACHAL PRADESH

4.8

3

MEGHALAYA

4.3

4

MADHYA PRADESH

4.2

5

CHHATTISGARH

4.0

6

HIMACHAL PRADESH

2.8

7

GOA

2.8

8

WEST BENGAL

2.6

9

DELHI

2.6

10

CHANDIGARH

2.6

11

ORISSA

2.5

12

HARYANA

2.5

13

JHARKHAND

2.4

14

RAJASTHAN

2.3

15

PUNJAB

1.9

 

TOTAL (ALL-INDIA)

1.8

16

JAMMU & KASHMIR

1.8

17

KERALA

1.6

18

MAHARASHTRA

1.4

19

ANDHRA PRADESH

1.4

20

UTTARAKHAND

1.1

21

BIHAR

1.0

22

UTTAR PRADESH

0.9

23

TAMIL NADU

0.9

24

KARNATAKA

0.9

25

GUJARAT

0.8

Comparison of Congress Ruled states Vs Maya’s Uttar Pradesh

Now, let’s have a look at various states ruled by Congress as compared to BSP ruled Uttar Pradesh, again the source of data remains the same, i.e. table 5.2 (mentioned above). For the purpose of comparison, we combined all the Congress ruled states and collated the data for crime of rape.

Rape Crimes

Congress Ruled states-2009

Sr.No.

State

Population

Rape cases reported

Rate of incidence(Number of rapes/Lakh ,population)

population(in Lakhs)

National share(%)

Numbers

National share(%)

 

TOTAL (ALL-INDIA)

11694

100.0

21397

100.0

1.8

1

ANDHRA PRADESH

833

7.1

1188

5.6

1.4

2

ASSAM

305

2.6

1631

7.6

5.3

3

HARYANA

242

2.1

603

2.8

2.5

4

KERALA

347

3.0

568

2.7

1.6

5

HIMACHAL PRADESH

66

0.6

183

0.9

2.8

6

MAHARASHTRA

1087

9.3

1483

6.9

1.4

7

RAJASTHAN

661

5.6

1519

7.1

2.3

8

DELHI

178

1.5

469

2.2

2.6

Total(all congress ruled states)

3719

31.8

7644

35.7

2.1

UTTAR PRADESH

1955

16.7

1759

8.2

0.9

% Difference (Congress ruled states vs  Uttar Pradesh

190

190

435

435

228

 From the above charts,  we gather the following:

  1. 7644 number of rape incidences took place in 2009, in all 8 states ruled by the congress, as compared to 1759 in Uttar Pradesh, which is more than 4 times higher-- 435%, as compared to Uttar Pradesh.
  2. While the total population of congress ruled 8 states is 3719 lakhs, 190% of Uttar Pradesh, the incidence of rape is 228% higher than Uttar Pradesh
  3. The situation hasn’t been different for in other years-- data for the year 2007 is similar.
  4. 2007 is  also the year when Mayawati came to power in Uttar Pradesh, therefore a comparison between the two years 2007 and 2009, is a must to get further insight.

Rape Crimes

Congress Ruled states-2007

Sr.No.

State

Population

Rape cases reported

Rate of incidence(Number of rapes/Lakh,population)

population(in Lakhs)

National share(%)

Numbers

National share(%)

 

TOTAL (ALL-INDIA)

11365.53

100.00

20737

100

1.8

1

ANDHRA PRADESH

816.02

7.18

1070

5.16

1.4

2

ASSAM

296.22

2.61

1437

6.93

5.3

3

HARYANA

235.30

2.07

488

2.35

2.5

4

KERALA

340.12

2.99

512

2.47

1.6

5

HIMACHAL PRADESH

65.09

0.57

159

0.77

2.8

6

MAHARASHTRA

1059.69

9.32

1451

7.00

1.4

7

RAJASTHAN

639.10

5.62

1238

5.97

2.3

8

DELHI

177.82

1.56

469

2.26

2.6

Total(all congress ruled states)

3629.36

31.93

6824

32.91

1.88

UTTAR PRADESH

1885.41

16.59

1648

7.95

0.9

% Difference (Congress ruled states vs  Uttar Pradesh

192

192

414

414

209

  1. The chart below  compares the Congress ruled state vs Uttar Pradesh over the years 2007 and 2009.
  2. Between 2007 and 2009, in the Congress ruled states rape crimes has grown by over 12% as compared to less than half (6.7%) in Uttar Pradesh.
  3. So it's not just that more rapes and crimes against women are happening in Congress ruled states, but even their growth rate is double that of  Uttar Pradesh

Comparison of Uttar Pradesh Vs Congress Ruled states between Year 2007-2009

 

Total Rapes in Year 2007

Total Rapes in Year 2009

Percentage Change

Congress  ruled states

6824

7644

12.02

Uttar Pradesh

1648

1759

6.74

 Hypocrisy, Drama or Concern for the Victim?

If one notices the recent happenings in UP and the reaction of Congress party, it is worth to note, that each case/incidence is followed by..

  1. High profile visits by top Congress functionary of the state
  2. Central leaders (in charge of UP) and self-appointed “Youvraj , PM-in-waiting” along with battery of hired media, visiting the place/victim with lots of photo-op sessions 
  3.  Central agencies (National Commission of Women, SC/ST commission) and their chairpersons visiting the victim, with the accusation that UP govt is not co-operating with them.

All that raises three important questions:

  1. Is all this hyper-activity because of genuine concerns for the victim or an attempt to make itself (Congress) relevant in state politics, where it has got marginalized since last two decades?
  2. In how many cases do these commissions visit rape victims in other states, or even NCR? What is it that makes them travel hundreds of miles to UP, but not even a few KM in Delhi itself, which is regarded as  the “rape capital”?See these reports:
      1. Daily one rape in capital
      2. 1 of every 4 rapes in Indian cities takes place in Delhi
  3. Why don't  these commissions (Please note most of these commissions are headed by active political functionaries, who one day attend the party meetings and other day, commission related work), start in states ruled by them, root out the atrocities on women; after all, they can’t complain, that their state govt is not cooperating with them?

Now let's talk about the media. Our media is best described by three peculiar traits.

  1. In 2006 the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi, conducted a survey which found that 'of the 315 key decision-makers surveyed from 37 Delhi-based (Hindi and English) publications and television channels, almost 90% of decision-makers in the English language print media and 79% in television were from the ‘upper caste’', Refer.
  2. Corruption in the Indian media has gone beyond the corruption of individuals or particular media organizations – it has become institutionalized and organized. Newspapers and television channels receive funds for publishing or broadcasting information that is sought to be disguised as “news”, but which is designed to 'favour particular individuals, corporate entities, political parties or candidates contesting elections'. Refer.
  3. And the 'Peepli Live' phenomenon, the mad rush to get TRPs.

To put things in perspective: as a dalit, your expectations from media are minimal. But still a few questions:

 

i. What are the criteria to decide that one rape incident hundreds of Km away, gets published on front pages, but back home, rape incidents in Delhi are being published on 4th, 5th page?

 

ii. It's not that media has not refered to NCRB data on atrocities against women, in its reporting. Why didn’t they conclude such a simple fact, that UP is far lower in crimes against women, as compared to other states? 

iii. Why does the media not start a constructive debate, on how to curb these incidences, what are the steps required to root out the problem?

~~~ 

 

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1.    Central agencies (national commission of women, SC/ST commission) and their chairman visiting the victim, with accusation that UP govt not co-operating with them.

 

All this raise three important questions.

 

      I.        Is all this hyper-activity, is because of genuine concerns for the victim or an attempt to make itself relevant in state politics, where it got marginalized since last two decades?

    II.        In How many cases do these commissions have visited rape victims in other states, or even NCR? What is it which makes them travel hundreds of KM to UP, but not just few KM in delhi itself, which is regarded as “rape capital”

a.      Daily one rape in capital

b.      1 of every 4 rapes in Indian cities takes place in Delhi

 

   III.        Why doesn’t  these commission(Please note most of these commissions headed by active political functionaries, who one day attend the party meetings and other day commission office), start in states ruled by them, root out the atrocities on women, after all, they can’t complain, that their state govt not cooperating with them?

 

Now lets talk about the media. Our media is best described by three peculiar traits.

 

          I.            In 2006 the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi, conducted a survey which found that “of the 315 key decision-makers surveyed from 37 Delhi-based (Hindi and English) publications and television channels, almost 90% of decision-makers in the English language print media and 79% in television were...from the ‘upper caste’ , Refer  

        II.            corruption in the Indian media has gone beyond the corruption of individuals or particular media organizations – it has become institutionalized and organized. Newspapers and television channels receive funds for publishing or broadcasting information that is sought to be disguised as “news”, but which is designed to favour particular individuals, corporate entities, political parties or candidates contesting elections”. Refer 

      III.            And the “peepli live” phenomena, its mad rush to get the TRP. 

 

To put the things in perspective, being a dalit, your expectations from media are minimal. But still few questions,

        I.            What is the criteria to decide that one rape incident hundreds of Km away, gets published on front pages, but back home ,rape incidents in delhi, being published on 4th ,5th page?

      II.            Its not that media has not refered to NCRB data on atrocities against women,in its reporting, why didn’t they conclude such a simple fact, that UP is far lower in crimes against woment, as compared to other states?

    III.            Why it doesn’t start a constructive debate, how to curb, these incidences, what are the steps required, to root out the problem?

 

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