DESPITE PREVENTIVE MEASURES, CRIME AGAINST WOMEN RISE
Although the Capital is taking steps towards becoming a world-class city, the safety of its residents remains a concern — especially for women.
Despite initiatives by Delhi police to make the city safer for women, there was a significant rise in the number of rape and molestation cases in 2011 compared to 2010.
A total of 568 rape cases and 653 molestation cases were reported last year, compared to 507 rape cases and 601 molestation cases in 2010.
The police’s anti-stalking cell got 62 calls in 2011. In the anti-obscenity case department, 19,575 complaints were received in 2011 and in 18,344 cases, action was taken. According to the Delhi Police annual report, there were 459 rape case and 528 molestation cases in 2009.
“In most cases, the accused were found to be known to the victim or her family,” said police commissioner B K Gupta. “These are opportunistic crimes committed in private space,” he added. The accused was known to the victim in 97 per cent cases. The involvement of strangers in rape cases in 2011 was 2.46 per cent while it was 3.94 per cent in 2010.
What makes Delhi unsafe for women?
Delhi’s male-dominated society, socio-economic disparities and large-scale migration from other states are often blamed for the situation.
After the recent rape case of a girl from Manipur, chief minister Sheila Dikshit had confirmed that women in Delhi don’t feel safe. “Delhi’s biggest problem that has created such a situation is huge migration of people,” she had said, though many people argue that this alone cannot be blamed.
According to Dikshit, crimes have increased and it is getting hard to catch criminals because they slip in and out of Delhi easily. “There are several areas in Delhi where crime against women is high, especially in slums and isolated villages,” said Ranjana Kumari, director of Centre for Social Research.
Lechers in Delhi
“There is lack of cultural respect for women in Delhi compared to other metros,” said Kumari. Activists say the psyche of a male-dominated society in Delhi has made the situation worse.
“Several cases of violence against women go unreported. Instead of solving them, family members try to suppress the issue,” said Manish Bhatnagar, who is working for juvenile rights. “Family members often ignore the trauma the girl may be going through,” added Bhatnagar.
In Delhi, even a woman who thinks she is strong enough to face street crimes is actually quite vulnerable.
“If you are a woman in Delhi, it goes without saying that the moment you step out of your house, you have to be careful against chain-snatchers, bag-snatchers, rapists, lechers and even gunmen,” said Prathiba, a victim of chain-snatching in south Delhi.
Another molestation victim said she wants severe action against those who commit such crimes. “If police take harsh action, it will serve as a deterrent against men who think of committing such shameful acts,” she said.
According to Ranjana Kumari, thousands of cases related to crime against women are pending in courts, which send a wrong message to victims.
“The police’s message towards criminals must be loud and clear. They can’t escape if they commit crime against women,” she said.
To make the city safer for women, the police commissioner said more women personnel will be deployed and every police station will have a woman officer to interact with female complainants.
More women-centric police stations in Capital
There are some women-centric police stations in north and south campuses, while five districts in Delhi have women deputy commissioners of police and additional deputy commissioners of police.
B K Gupta said at least 460 women constables have undergone commando training in 2011, and 25 have been given advanced training by the Central Reserve Police Force.
Deputy commissioner of police (north-west) Meenu Choudhary said orders have been issued to BPOs and other offices to take steps for safety and security of women. She said PCR vans have always rushed in to help stranded women.
In 2011, 63 self-defence training programmes for women were launched at schools and colleges, and 6,730 people had enrolled.
According to additional commissioner of police Ajay Chaudhary, women police constables have been deployed at areas prone to crime against women.
“A 24-hour mobile team will also deal with domestic violence,” said deputy commissioner of police Prabhakar. “Our teams also conduct surprise checks in buses, markets, universities and areas prone to eve-teasing,” said Prabhakar.
“Whenever a victim approaches us, we ensure that she gets justice,” said additional deputy commissioner of police Romil Baniya. She said victims must not shy away from approaching the police.
The police have special helpline numbers for women to call during emergency. Apart from 100, women can dial 1091 or 24121234 for help. If they get obscene calls, they can dial 1096 or 27894455.
Police have also given women an option to sms their problem at 9911135446. If they are stalked, they can call 1096 or 27894455 or sms to 9911135446.
“If a woman is stranded at an isolated place after 8 pm, our PCR vans will be directed towards her so that she can reach her destination safely,” said deputy commissioner of police S K Jain.