How safe is India for women travelers ?
Earlier, in March 2019, the US government’s India travel advisory- which places India at ‘level 2’ security that requires travelers to “exercise increased caution” – said, “Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest-growing crimes in India. Violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations.”
Students take part in a candlelight protest against the Hyderabad rape and murder case, at Khanapara in Guwahati.The British advisory predates Hyderabad veterinarian’s gangrape and murder by two days, and asks women to dial 100 immediately and insist on talking to female police officers.
There has been widespread outrage over the veterinary doctor’s rape and murder (Indian police records show 223 such double crimes in 2017) and has led to several discussions over National Crime Records Bureau’s latest statistics. The NCRB 2017 report showed 32,559 rapes across India in 2017.
The British government’s advisory to its citizens released on its website on November 26 states that rape and sexual assault survivors should “insist” on a police report. The police are not bound to provide an English translation, but the survivor could get the statement read and explained in English before signing, it added.
Kartikeya Tripathi, a lecturer from University College London (UCL), said, “In the unfortunate case a British national is sexually assaulted in India, it tells them their right to be dealt with by a female police officer which many are not aware of.”
The advisory educates its nationals, stating, “However, the law states that you have the right to have this recorded by a female officer. You will also have to make a statement to a Judicial Magistrate. The police will keep any clothes worn during the attack as evidence.”
The advisory urges women to carry a change of clothes while going to the police station or hospital. “The police will take you to a government hospital for a forensic examination. While procedures vary across the country, this will usually be done in the presence of a female officer and/or a representative of a local NGO. You will also have to make a statement to the doctor about what has happened to you,” it stated.
Regarding medical examination and ‘medico-legal’ cases, it said, “The medical examination in most cases will be carried out by gynecologists and forensic doctors.”
“The victim’s identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme Court directives on cases related to sexual assault”