The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) expresses grave indignation and disgust at the brutal gang rape of a 15-year old girl with speech and hearing impairment in Madhubani, Bihar.
The crime becomes all the more vicious, wicked and atrocious as the predators sought to snatch away her vision in an attempt to ensure that she would not be able to identify them.
Unlike the perception reinforced by statements from high ranking officials, including those from members of the National Commission for Women, the despicable attack took place in broad daylight, when the girl was out in search of fodder for her goats.
The heinous assault once again brings to light the multiple layers of vulnerabilities that girls and women with disabilities are exposed to.
The perpetrators of the monstrous crime were bent upon ensuring the total denial of access to the criminal justice (by inflicting wounds on her eyes) which even otherwise was arduous for a girl who was hearing and speech impaired.
That mere enhancement of punishment fails to deter such crimes is being repeatedly underlined by such incidents. On the other hand, it only demonstrates that this only adds to escalating the nature of the crime.
Regrettably, despite the increasing number of reported cases of sexual violence on girls and women with disabilities, the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) does not maintain disaggregated data on such violence targeting disabled women.
Coming from an economically deprived and marginalised family and the manifold vulnerabilities that both the survivor and the family would be subjected to, it is incumbent that they be ensured adequate counselling and protection.
While demanding adequate compensation for the survivor, the NPRD also wishes to reiterate the necessity of making the criminal justice system accessible as also the sensitisation of all those associated with it.