It’s been four years since Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old medical student in India, died after suffering a brutal gang rape while riding aboard a bus. The heinous crime caused global outrage and was the subject of a controversial and censored documentary, India’s Daughter. The film has forced India to confront a culture in which rape has become rampant, a culture that people inside and outside the country have demanded must change. But change, if it’s happening, is hard fought, as a startling new report shows. According to Reuters, gang rape videos have become a popular seller in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state located in the northern region of the country.
Graphic cellphone videos depicting gang rapes are being bought and sold inside shops in the state. The videos last anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes, and can cost between 75 cents and $2. The disturbing trend is indicative that there has been an increase in gang rape perpetrators using mobile phones to document their horrific crimes — and an increase in demand to view such depraved content. Authorities there say they are trying to crack down on the problem. “We are aware. We are taking necessary action,” Ajay Sharma, a deputy inspector general of police in the city of Agra, said. “But it is difficult, as the sales are happening below the counter.” Platitudes like that, however, are not sitting well with citizens who are fed up with the barbaric behavior. Last week, a teenage girl and her mother were gang raped after being abducted at gunpoint by a band of thugs in a highway robbery. The mother and daughter were raped for hours as police failed to respond to calls for help promptly. Relatives of the victims have asked authorities to allow them to publicly execute the suspects police eventually arrested.
And in a more recent incident, reports indicated that another woman was gang raped in Uttar Pradesh. The spate of rapes has caused Akhilesh Yadav, the state’s chief minister, to come under heavy fire on social media from citizens who think he’s ineffective. Amid a torrent of criticism this week, the hashtag #LawlessUP trended on Twitter.
Read the full story at Reuters.