India in international rape rankings
by Bhaskar Menon on 17 Mar 2015 7 Comments

As the chart above, downloaded from Wikipedia, shows, India is nowhere in the top ranks of the incidence of rape reported by the United Nations.  The following paragraph spells out the situation:

“Adjusted for population growth over time, the annual rape rate in India has increased from 1.9 to 2.0 per 100,000 people over 2008-2012 period. This compares to a reported rape rate of 1.2 per 100,000 in Japan, 3.6 per 100,000 in Morocco, 4.6 rapes per 100,000 in Bahrain, 12.3 per 100,000 in Mexico, 24.1 per 100,000 in the United Kingdom, 28.6 per 100,000 in the United States, 66.5 per 100,000 in Sweden, and world’s highest rate of 114.9 rapes per 100,000 in South Africa.”

This comparative picture has been entirely ignored by Indian mass media in covering the overall story of rape in the country; it was blatantly absent from comment on the BBC rape movie by Leslee Udwin.

Western media have gone out of their way to present India in the worst light possible.

For example, the CNN report of the latest Indian outrage – the weekend rape of a 70-year old nun in Nadia, West Bengal – concludes with the following observation:


“Official data in India show that rape cases have jumped almost 875% over the past 40 years - from 2,487 in 1971 to 24,206 in 2011. But campaigners say sexual assaults are under-reported because of stigma and cultural factors. Experts say the causes of the high number of rapes include the nation’s patriarchy, widespread poverty and lack of law enforcement in rural areas.”

Another element of imbalance in the CNN report is that its first paragraph says on the basis of a local police report that one of the robbers of a Christian school raped the old woman when she resisted, while the next quotes a New Delhi Church official saying three of the four robbers raped the old woman. (He added bizarrely that the crime was especially heinous as “all her life she has remained a virgin.”)

The Church official made no mention that there was no assault on two younger nuns, who were merely tied up, an anomaly difficult to explain if the robbers were intent on gang rape.

The latest atrocity, coming as it does on the heels of growing criticism of the BBC rape movie, adds to the speculation that we are witnessing a deliberate anti-Indian campaign.

As the CNN report on the nun noted helpfully, “A series of rape cases involving girls, foreign tourists and a physiology student who died following a brutal gang rape in 2012 has hurt India’s international reputation.”

Indian commentators should note that the timing of the assault on the nun will maximize that negative impact of the story, for it will certainly be noticed at Sunday church services around the world.

Another recent story from eastern India that gained worldwide attention is the lynching of a Bengali man accused of raping a Naga girl.

In the aftermath it appears the sex was negotiated for payment, and that the accusation of rape followed a demand for more money. The lynching occurred after a few provocateurs roused the communal feelings of a crowd of impressionable young students.

None of that has made it into the headlines.

That was also the case with another infamous rape/murder case last year, when two UP teenagers were found hanging from a tree (see here).

What should be amply clear from all this is that nearly 70 years after decolonization, Indian society and its political establishment are entirely incapable of responding to a malign British campaign aiming to make India less attractive to investors and tourists.

Indians should take note of the role of Britain’s local media proxies in making that possible. They do not make the least effort to verify the facts of reported outrages, much less present a balanced picture of the situation in the country.

They did not feel impelled to investigate even when the prime accused in the Nirbhaya case committed “suicide” in prison, giving substance to the suspicion that the men had been paid for the crime and that loose ends were being tied.

This is part laziness -- it is so much easier to blather on with meaningless condemnations -- and part corruption: Indian media barons are not their own masters (see here), and have little power to create a national narrative in the face of foreign pressure.

Things will not change unless Indian readers and television viewers become vocally disapproving of this situation.


The author is a journalist and author; he blogs at,

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