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Many Indians say their country is dealing with a rape crisis. So why is there still no national registry for sex offenders?


IN MID-JANUARY, when New Delhi police arrested Sunil Rastogi for sex crimes against underage girls, the 38-year-old father of five made a horrifying confession: He claimed to have assaulted, or tried to assault, as many as 500 girls over the course of more than a decade.

It’s not clear how reliable that number is, but since 2004, authorities have arrested Rastogi at least 15 times on similar charges, and he hasn’t been convicted. A court has yet to scrutinize his recent confession, but since his arrest in January, investigators say they have linked him to 58 sex crimes across at least three states— where victims identified him by a distinctive red-and-white shirt.

Shocking as Rastogi’s alleged crimes may seem, few in India seem surprised that he has never been punished. Over the past few years, many across the country have come to believe that sexual violence is increasing, thanks to rampant poverty, rapid social change and a failing legal system. Since 2012, when the vicious gang rape and murder of a young Indian woman aboard a bus in Delhi made international headlines, India has passed stronger laws against crimes like sexual harassment, stalking and voyeurism; it has also increased jail sentences for many sex crimes and placed the burden on accused rapists to prove that the sex was consensual. But sexual violence and the media frenzy surrounding it have showed no signs of slowing. Along with attacks on adults and teenagers, local newspapers feature almost daily reports of gruesome sexual assaults on infants and toddlers.

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TERROR THREAT: HOW TRUMP IS FUELLING JIHAD Since the horrors of 9/11, American presidents operating under the advice of the intelligence community’s counter terrorism experts have understood that countering this propaganda has been among the most essential parts of the fight against ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other murderous Jihadi extremists. Through carefully selected language and for the most part considered policy, the United States has worked to expose the lies and convince young Muslims drawn by the propaganda toward hate that they are welcome and appreciated in America. That era appears to be over. President Donald Trump, in office for less than two months, has gutted the strategy used by Republicans and Democrats alike out of ignorance, hubris or both, sending a new message from the White House, one that reinforces the Jihadi extremists’ propaganda and increases the likelihood that more Americans will die in attacks.