- (Photo: Gospel for Asia)
The president of the Gospel for Asia mission organization recently called the conditions for women in India "a horrendous evil that is worsening" after authorities arrested six men in the north of the country for the alleged gang-rape of a woman traveling on a bus, just weeks after the gang-rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi rocked the country.
"This just shows the wickedness of the human heart. I pray the government will take strong action to protect the innocent. We all grieve for what is happening. God have mercy on us," K. P. Yohannan, president of Gospel for Asia, a mission organization working in South Asia, said in a Jan. 15 press release.
The Associated Press has reported that on Jan. 11, a 29-year-old woman was traveling via bus to visit family in the Punjab region of Northern India when she was taken and allegedly raped by the bus driver, conductor, and five other suspects.
Police reported that six men have been arrested and accused of the crime, while they are searching for a seventh suspect.
This marks the second alleged gang-rape crime in the country in recent weeks.
In Dec. 2012, a medical student traveling with a male friend on a New Delhi bus was attacked and raped by six men using a metal rod.
The 23-year-old student died of organ failure and a heart attack, according to The Huffington Post, and the six men arrested in the attack have reportedly been charged with murder and rape.
As Yohannan said in the recent Gospel for Asia statement, he believes India has had a long history of an abusive culture toward women.
"The long-time abuse women in India endure has now been highlighted," Yohannan stated.
"Their social stigma and inhuman treatment with impunity make them one of the largest unreached people groups," the GFA president added.
The recent gang-rape incidents in India have resulted in a massive public outcry, both nationally and globally, calling for stricter punishments for those who engage in rape in the Asian country.
According to an in-depth report from the Guardian, these recent crimes have invoked what some are describing as a culture war, with some groups calling for radical social change to ensure the safety of women, while conservative groups argue that Western influence is the source to blame for India's supposed societal decay.
Now, one month after the initial New Delhi gang-rape, advocacy groups are arguing that the government has not done enough to ensure these crimes against women do not happen again.
"One month after the horrific Delhi gangrape [sic], the Central and state governments are yet to learn any lessons. This is shown by the refusal to pinpoint accountability and responsibility for those responsible," the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) said in a statement.
"In spite of all the high sounding statements from the Central Government the attitude of the Home Minister did not inspire any confidence of a change in attitude to understand the urgency of issues involved," the association added, referencing a recent meeting it had with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde regarding the issue of sexual assault in the country.
Gospel for Asia, based in Carrollton, Texas, specializes in ministering to India's women through its "Women Reaching Women" outreach in program. The nonprofit reports that women missionaries are working heavily in rural areas where unlawful abuse occurs regularly without retribution and in urban prostitution centers.