Over the past decade, reports of rape in rural and urban areas of India have been consistently increasing. In 2012, the infamous “Nirbhaya case” – in which 23-year-old Jyoti Singh, while traveling in Delhi, was gang-raped, beaten, and killed – garnered global attention. Under public scrutiny, certain “amendments” were made by the government to laws relating to rape. Chief Justice S.A. Bobde made the promise of “effective and speedy investigation and trial.” In the following years, however, those changes proved to be inconsequential as more rape cases were being reported in 2017 than in 2012.
Last month, the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), a new set of laws that would allow minority religious groups from neighbouring Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to more easily gain Indian citizenship. While at first glance these policies seem welcoming to targeted minorities, they notably exclude Muslims, raising questions about their true motivations.
On August 31st, 2017, the lifeless husks of 9 women and 10 Rohingya refugees washed ashore the sands of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.1 Under dictatorial rule of the Myanmar army between 1962 and 2011, the Rohingya people of the Rakhine State have been handed a predicament of institutionalized oppression on the grounds of religious and ethnic discrimination. While these acts of terror are often justified by the supposed targeting of extremist subsets within the population, the scale and scope of these acts can only be regarded as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” says United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. 2