Gang Rape of Brazilian Biker

Legal perspective on the Gang Rape of the Brazilian Woman and Global Impact of the incident on woman safety in India

Incident:

A disturbing incident occurred in Kurumahat, Jharkhand, on 1st March 2024. The incident involved a horrifying ordeal for a Brazilian travel vlogger and biker, 28, and her Spanish spouse. The survivor’s account of being allegedly gang-raped and attacked by seven men while on a motorbike tour across India has shocked the world and sparked grave worries about the security of visitors to India.

When the couple chose to spend the night in Kurumahat, which is about 350 kilometers from Ranchi, the state capital of Jharkhand, their journey tragically turned south. The couple was allegedly overpowered that evening by seven men, which resulted in the brutal rape of the Brazilian woman. The survivor of the incident suffered from deep psychological trauma in addition to physical scars, and all they wanted was to forget about that night. Up until this tragic event, the survivor—a well-known figure on social media with over 200,000 Instagram followers—had been sharing photos of her travels throughout India.

Investigation and Police Actions:

Investigations are in progress after the incident was reported to the local authorities. Nevertheless, information regarding the case’s development or any arrests that have taken place has not been made public. The incident has caused a stir in India as well as abroad, casting doubt on the efficacy of the policies put in place to protect visitors’ safety, particularly that of women. It also highlights the persistent issue of sexual assault in India, a nation still attempting to deal with the stigma and intricate legal system associated with these kinds of incidents.

The biker on her Instagram later announced that all of the accused have been arrested by the police. One of the accused is claimed to be a minor. She also informed that the accused also took Rs. 10,000 ($120) and a ring from the tent.

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Legal Provisions:

The Indian National Commission for Women asked the police to charge those accused with gang rape, which is punishable by at least 20 years in prison, it said in a post on X on Saturday. Section 376 D of the Indian penal code, 1860 or Section 70 of the Bhartiya Nayay Sanhita 2023 talks about Gang rape it stipulates that-

“Where a woman is raped by one or more persons constituting a group or acting in furtherance of a common intention, each of those persons shall be deemed to have committed the offence of rape and shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and with fine:

Provided that such fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim:

Provided further that any fine imposed under this section shall be paid to the victim.”

Since there are allegations of theft as well and force was used provisions of dacoity will also apply. Section 395 of the Indian Penal Code Or Section 308 of the Bhartiya Nayay Sanhita will apply.

As discussed above that one of the accused is claiming to be a minor, the Indian parliament enacted a bill in 2015 allowing juveniles between the ages of 16 and 18 to be tried as adults for heinous crimes like rape or murder. Prior to the measure, sentences for those under the age of 18 could only be as long as three years in a reform institution. The law established that juveniles who commit brutal and severe murders and rapes between the ages of 16 and 18 will be tried and punished as adults. As a result, on March 19, 2013, the Criminal Law (Amendment Act) 2013, also known as the “Anti Rape Bill,” was passed. Since the case at hand is a gang rape case the minor will not be able to escape his liability by citing his age.

Impact of this on society and perception of the world:

The incident has a significant impact on how people perceive India as a travel destination. Sexual violence incidents against foreign nationals have the potential to seriously harm public perceptions of safety and have a major negative influence on visitor arrivals, both of which are essential to the local economies of many Indian regions. It also emphasizes how urgently stronger laws are needed to protect women—both locals and guests—and to make sure that those responsible for these horrible crimes are apprehended as soon as possible. The case also emphasizes how crucial it is to help victims of sexual assault deal with the fallout from such traumatic experiences by offering them psychological support.

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Shri  K. J. Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism in a written reply in Rajya Sabha gave information about various initiatives taken by the government to ensure the safety of tourists, the initiatives includes:

  1. 24×7 Toll-Free Multilingual Tourist Info-Helpline: A helpline (1800111363 or 1363) in 12 languages provides support and guidance to tourists in India, especially in times of distress.
  2. Welcome Card with Tips: Foreign tourists receive a welcome card upon arrival containing tips to enhance their stay and make it more memorable.
  3. Deployment of Tourist Police: Several states and union territories have deployed Tourist Police to ensure the safety and security of tourists.
  4. Social Awareness Media Campaigns: Campaigns have been launched to educate stakeholders and the public about the importance of good conduct towards tourists, emphasizing the spirit of ‘Atithidevo Bhava’ (guests are like gods).
  5. Guidelines on Safety and Security: Issuance of guidelines for states and union territories regarding safety and security of tourists, along with tips for travelers to manage risks and ensure a pleasant experience.
  6. Constant Dialogue for Tourism Development: There is ongoing dialogue with states, union territories, tourism-related institutions, and stakeholders to develop strategies for tourism promotion and safety.
  7. Advisories on Selfie Danger Zones: Issuance of advisories to mark Selfie Danger Zones at tourist places to prevent accidents and promote awareness of safety hazards.

These initiatives collectively aim to enhance the tourism experience in India, ensuring safety, security, and positive interactions for both domestic and international tourists. Safety of tourists is paramount for the government as incidents where tourists face any kind of danger or threat has international implications.

Conclusion:

The story of this Brazilian woman and her terrifying ordeal is making a lasting impression on people, serving as a sobering reminder of the challenges that remain in the fight against sexual assault and the protection of those who are most vulnerable. Even as legal actions seek to provide the victim with justice, the conversation about everyone’s right to safety, respect, and dignity must continue. This incident calls for reflection and proactive measures to create a safer environment that cuts across social, cultural, and geographic boundaries.

– By Anaida Khan Pursuing 4th year of BALLB (Hons.) from Dharmashashtra National Law University, Jabalpur

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