By Aradhana CV
According to NCRB data, if there’s one thing women in Karnataka are guaranteed if they file police complaints about sexual violence, it is that they won’t get justice.
In the immediate aftermath of the New Year’s Eve mass molestation in Bangalore, it was widely reported that no cases had been filed because not a single woman had come forward with an official complaint. On 2nd January, Bangalore Police Commissioner Praveen Sood (who had taken charge just the previous day) tweeted that if any woman came forward with a complaint, Bangalore police would not wait “even a minute” to register a case and begin investigating.
A minute later, he added that even if no one filed a complaint, a suo moto case would be registered immediately if the police themselves found credible evidence.
The next day, the commissioner dramatically announced that the police had indeed “found credible evidence repeat credible evidence in a case of wrongful confinement, molestation and attempt to rob”.
So on the face of it, especially given his deliberate repetitions, it was fairly surprising when on 5th January, he seemed to walk back his talk and told NDTV that while such a thing “could have happened”, there was no evidence for it.
A deeper investigation into the patterns of sexual assault cases in Karnataka places this event as part of a long-term disturbing trend, and contextualises these events in less surprising, and infinitely more unsavoury light. There emerges an obvious answer for why no one filed a complaint about mass sexual assault on New Year’s Eve, as well as the police’s strange responses.
According to the latest 2015 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for Karnataka, for every sexual assault case reported in the state, there is a 83.9 percent chance that it won’t be convicted if it is a rape case. Chances of conviction are non-existent – yes, 100 percent likelihood of no conviction – if it is a case of an attempt to rape, a 96.1 percent chance of no conviction if it falls under Section 354 (assault on woman with intent to outrage her modesty, which includes stalking, sexual harassment, voyeurism or disrobing) and 80.6 percent chance of no conviction if it falls under Section 509 (insult to a woman’s modesty by uttering any sound, word or gesture that intrudes upon her privacy).