Commissioner of Police Satyapal Singh, who had recently claimed that the city is safe for women at the launch of a Mumbai Police college outreach initiative, must be eating his words now.
Though riots and terror attacks have been unsuccessful in taking the sheen off Mumbai’s never-say-die spirit, flagrant cases of violence against women surely have. The city, which was always touted as safe for women, is now a hotbed for violent and sexual crimes against them.
Statistics released by Praja Foundation, a non-partisan city-based organisation, show a 15 per cent rise in the number of rape cases in 2010-11, in comparison to 2011-12. Cases of molestation in the same period have risen by 14 per cent.
Mumbai police have registered 207 cases of rape and 552 cases of molestation in 2011-12. Also, 430 cases were registered in 2011 under IPC section 509, for outraging the modesty of women.
Be it an acid attack on a physiotherapist in Worli, the rape of a Spanish national in Bandra, the harassment of a girl in Dombivli, or the unbridled attack on a young woman in broad daylight in Dadar, the city has been waking up to reports of macabre crimes against women almost every day.
Not just that, those who rise to their defence are also made to pay a heavy price. In Dombivli, 20-year-old Santosh Vichivora was brutally killed, after he confronted a group of boys who made advances at his female friend as the two were walking home.
In October, a 19-year-old resident of Powai was attacked and killed after he raised his voice against 23-year-old Naresh Singh and his friends who were harassing girls during the Navratri celebrations.
This alarming trend has spiralled beyond the city limits as well. The state figured third in an ignominious list compiled on the basis of data collated by the National Crime Records Bureau on crimes against women.
Between 2007 and 2011, Uttar Pradesh made the most arrests for cases of molestation, rape and abduction. For sexual harassment alone, 58,120 men were apprehended in the northern state.
Second in the list was Andhra Pradesh, where 42,705 arrests were made for sexual harassment and 7,692 for rape. Maharashtra caught 15,341 men on charges of molestation and 10,312 for rape. In 2010, 8,391 dowry death cases were reported across India.
“I must admit that not all cases reported to police are on record. The problem is our statistics-oriented system. We spend more time managing statistics than managing crime. We will have to learn and improve policing and not worry about the statistics,” said former commissioner of police MN Singh. Other cops have come on record, saying that the rise in statistics is a result of ‘awareness among women’ and the ‘influx of people to the city’ from across the country.
Too little, too late?
In wake of the recent slew of crimes, Singh has formed a team of five women constables in every police station to investigate relevant cases on priority basis.
“The phone numbers of these women constables will be displayed prominently at each police station. In case the complaints are not taken seriously by lower-level staff, the complainant can get in touch with the deputy commissioners of police, as even their numbers will be displayed on the board,” said Singh.
Priyanka Chopra: A woman is not raped because She’s out at night or wearing a short dress or drinking.. She’s raped cause SOMEONE bloody RAPED HER!!
Preity zinta: The only way 2 put fear in the heads of Rapists specially Gang Rapists is the #Deathpenalty ! Harsh measures 4 such inhuman crimes.
Yuvraj Singh: Something is terribly wrong somewhere. If this is the way women are treated God save our society
There is not a remarkable increase in the crime against women, but the reporting of incidents has gone up. Also, the city has not reported more violent rapes as compared to Delhi because Mumbai has more red light areas than other cities. People who are staying here far away from their families can satisfy their urges by visiting these areas. Laws here are sufficient, but the police are inefficient at controlling the violent rapes that are taking place in the city.
— YP Singh, former IPS turned lawyer
In Mumbai, everybody is worried about their own safety rather than the safety of people around them. The offender takes advantage of this, which is a common factor of increasing crimes against women. Also there are several other reasons such as failure of criminal justice and the people’s indifference for the happenings around them.
— YC Pawar, former joint commissioner of police