Target: Sushilkumar Shinde, Minister of Home Affairs (India)
Goal: Praise the Indian government for increasing female presence in Delhi’s police force, and encourage further reforms.
Recent news of a young woman’s rape and subsequent death in Delhi has provoked outrage around the world, as protesters and activists call for a change in the way India deals with rape and, more broadly, its treatment of women. In response, the territory of Delhi has announced that it plans to add a total of 2,508 female officers to its police force. This will not magically solve all of India’s problems on this front, but it is an important first step that acknowledges the dire circumstances women in India face. Sign the petition praising the addition of female officers to Delhi’s police force and calling for further change in India.
Rape is a colossal issue in India. In 2012, 600 rape cases were reported in the capital city of New Delhi alone, and rape in India as a whole has skyrocketed 875% in the past four decades. Most recently, India has received negative global attention for a series of gang-rapes perpetrated in Delhi, right under the nose of the police. The prevalence of rape is nearly matched by widespread indifference of the police force to rape reports.
Facing domestic protests and international bad press, the Indian government has been rushing to make progress in a long-overdue attempt to address India’s rape problem. Adding women to the police force is one of several proposals, and this one has already been sent to the finance ministry for budget clearance. The program would ensure that a “minimum [of] two female sub-inspectors and 10 constables” would be posted in every Delhi police station. According to Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh, the goal is to make “women complainants…feel more secure, comfortable in visiting a police station.” The government is also calling for a more respectful and serious treatment of rape complaints and the complainants themselves, reminding police forces across the country that a failure to investigate a complaint is a violation of Indian law.
There is still a long road ahead for women in India, but the government has shown some promising first steps. Sign the petition and thank the Indian government for its action while encouraging further reforms.
Dear Minister Shinde,
As India confronts its widespread and troubling problems with rape and the treatment of women, there are many calling for immediate change. While it is a relatively small measure, the appointment of female officers to the Delhi police force is nevertheless an important step forward toward a brighter future for Indian women and for India as a whole.
In 2012, over 600 rapes were reported in New Delhi alone. Since rape is among the most under-reported crimes in the world, however, the actual number may have been much, much higher. Instances of rape in India have skyrocketed 875% in the last forty years. Change is long overdue.
The addition of female police officers to Delhi’s police force addresses official treatment of rapes after they have occurred, but it does nothing to prevent rapes from happening in the first place. To crack down on rape, the government must be prepared for a long and difficult struggle, and it must be committed to seeing it through. The appointment of female officers is a good first step, but it will mean nothing unless it is followed by a series of other anti-rape laws and protections.
Please take a stand for the women of India–for the mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, and friends who live in fear for their lives and safety every day–and commit to following through with further legislation to combat rape.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Meanest Indian via Flickr