Is India speedily turning into a hell for women?

All women who see the sketches of the five men suspected of gang-raping a 22-year-old female photo journalist in Mumbai last evening, and want to strangulate them in a fit of rage have to be excused for their homicidal tendency.

Twitter, which has now become a mass medium for citizens to express their opinions, was filled with outrage over this incident. The woman was interning with an English magazine and was on an assignment with a male colleague in a mill compound in Central Mumbai when this heinous crime took place.

All those who raise the most idiotic questions every time such a horrific rape incident takes place about why women venture out late at night to deserted places, why they dress “inappropriately” and similar nonsense, should note that this was in the heart of Mumbai, it was only 6.30 p.m. and as the young woman was doing an assignment she would have dressed like tens of thousands of young and urban Indian women dress.

Yes, anti-social elements, drug-peddlers and the like are known to hang around that area but the onus is on the State administration to make our cities safe and not on women to avoid such areas.

Of course, along with our hearts, our collective energy and admiration should go to the young woman who after the incident made her way to the Jaslok Hospital and reported the gang-rape. The Mumbai police has acted much more professionally in comparison with the initial callous and defiant attitude of the Delhi police when faced with protests over the gang-rape in Delhi on December 16, 2012. That unfortunate incident has become a watershed when it comes to Indian women saying “enough is enough” and deciding to forcefully take up the issue of increasing violence against women. By Friday afternoon the case had been cracked, all the five accused were identified and one arrested.

Coming as it does close on the heels of a horrendous account and experience of a young American student in India, small wonder that on Twitter, a young Indian woman asked, after the Mumbai horror: “Stop making it harder for me to be proud of my country.”

In an ireport on, Rose Chasm, a South Asian Studies student of the University of Chicago, shares her nightmarish experience in India in a report titled India: the story you never want to hear. The young woman, who is now undergoing psychiatric treatment at home, found India “wonderful, but extremely dangerous for women” during her 3-month stay in our country.

Her extremely disturbing account talks about the first night she and her friend spent in Pune, where they danced at the “Ganesha festival”, only to find that after a while “the festival actually stopped” and the men started filming every move of the two American women. She talks about “bargaining at the bazaar for beautiful saris costing a few dollars a piece, where the men who stood watching us would push by us, clawing at our breasts and groins.”

Worse follows. A smiling man masturbating before her in a public bus, a Goa hotel staffer first attempting to rape her colleague and then calling her through the night hissing on the phone.

Worse follows. She says she thought she came to India speaking some Hindi and knowing that “as a white woman I would be seen as a promiscuous being and a sexual prize. I was prepared to follow the University of Chicago’s advice to women to dress conservatively, to not smile in the streets. And I was prepared for the curiosity my red hair, fair skin and blue eyes would arouse. But I wasn’t prepared.”

She concludes with frightening thoughts on how many photos of her are there in India, which she calls a “traveller’s heaven and a woman’s hell, or on the internet… “photos of me walking, cursing, flipping people off. Who knows how many strangers have used my image as pornography, and those of my friends.”

If it’s any consolation India’s citizens are also expressing their outrage against the sick mentality of some Indian men when it comes to women. Under #MumbaiGangRape, here are some of the expressions of anger and disgust on Twitter on Friday morning.

*Morons n frustrated retards, don’t show your power by rapin girls.

*Chop their d***s with rampuri.

*Castrate these bastards.

*Spot hanging for culprits

*Cities don’t rape women, men do

*Rapists in india becoming as common as terrorists in Pakistan.

And then of course there were poisonous and polarising thoughts, such as this tweet from @MansinghNepram‏ : “Must be either a Bihari/UPwalla or Muslims. Highly doubt a Marathi would be involved. They love and respect women.”

Perhaps this guy is not aware of the incident where the Shiv Sena MLA Anil Kadam – surely you can’t have anybody more Marathi than a Sena MLA? - and his supporters ransacking on Thursday a toll-booth in Nashik district, enraged that the all-women-staff had asked him to pay the toll? The MLA was reported to have abused the female staff and threatened them that they would be stripped naked.

The previous day, supporters on the Samjajwadi Party MLA Abdul Rashid Momin ransacked a toll-booth at Kasheli near Bhiwandi in Thane district and assaulted the staff because the legislator was asked to pay the toll!