Rape Fear Keeps US Students Out Of India, Says Nancy Powell

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RANCHI – The frequent incidenceof rape in India has createdan adverse image of Indiaabroad. US ambassador toIndia, Nancy Powell, on hermaiden visit to Jharkhand, onTuesday highlighted this sayinghow this was possibly a factor inAmerican students not comingto India.She said: “The concern for personalsecurityand perceivedincreased dangerto women as aresult of therape cases wasperhaps a factorin US students’decision regardingstudy inIndia.” Powellsaid this in response to a question- “Why aren’t Americanstudents coming to India forstudies?” – asked in the courseof a chat with students’ at theXavier Institute of SocialScience (XISS) in Ranchi.The students at XISS agreed inthe presence of Powell that theytoo face sexual harassment onthe streets. “Even we Indiangirls face a lot of cat-calls andare subject to teasing outside thecollege campus almost everyday,”said a student, who waspart of the interaction sessionbut did not want to be named.When asked to elaborate, Powellsaid : “What I said was one ofthe factors for US students decisionregarding study in India.”Last year, a female student fromChicago University, who was ona study trip to India, in anaccount posted on CNNiReport said thatIndia was full ofadventures andbeauty, but alsorelentless sexualharassment, gropingand worse.At the interactionwith students atXISS, Powellfocused on educationand people-to-people connection.Following through onthe most recent US-IndiaHigher Education Dialogue inNew Delhi in June this year, herremarks to the students emphasized:”There is no sector thatbetter illustrates the mutual benefitof our relationship thaneducation, a priority sector forboth the US and India.Education has become one ofthe main pillars in our bilateralstrategic partnership.”