The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) condemns the rape and murder of a 12-year-old hearing and speech impaired girl in Gujarat. The minor girl who was allegedly abducted on October 16, was found with her throat slit in a field at a village in Banaskantha district on October 17 morning.
This gruesome crime adds to the list of sexual assaults, rapes and murders of girls and women with disabilities that have seen an alarming increasing in the recent period.
On August 24, 2020 a minor deaf girl was raped and murdered in Paingaltu village, District Palwal in Haryana. In early August another speech-impaired girl was raped in Dausa district of Rajasthan. In August-September two cases of rape of girls with intellectual disabilities were reported in the media – one of 30 year old woman in Kolkata and another of a girl in Chennai. There are several other cases that have taken place in other parts of the country that have not been reported in the media.
In two of the cases cited above the victims were killed post sexual assault, with an intent to destroy evidence.
It also comes out strikingly clear from other cases as well that the death penalty for sexual assaults, rather than being a deterrent, is only contributing to annihilation of the victims. This was also very much in evidence also in both the Hathras and Balrampur cases in Uttar Pradesh, where the victims were not disabled. Although the use of brute force to incapacitate the victim is not new, the level and intensity that gets displayed with each new incident coming to light is perturbing.
Also worrying is the fact that in many of the cases the police and the administration are insensitive to the issues of the disabled victims/survivors and are seen as attempting to shield the culprits.
Though cases of sexual assaults against women/girls with disabilities are being reported on a regular basis, unfortunately, the National Crime Records Bureau does not maintain disaggregated data about such violence. This despite the UNCRPD Monitoring Committee and the National Human Rights Commission recommending the same.
The NPRD calls upon its affiliates in the states to vehemently protest against this gruesome rape and murder of this disabled girl in Gujarat.