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A LOOK into the crime records of 2014 and 2015, released by the Pune police on Tuesday, shows the good and the ugly. The gloomy news being an increase in the number of registered cases of rape—33 per cent and molestation—55 per cent, and the brighter picture, as projected by the police, more women coming forward to register their complaints in 2015 as compared to the previous year. Police say the 2012 Delhi gang rape case has led to increased awareness among women, emboldening them to go ahead and file a complaint without fear against criminals.
The crime data comparison of 2014-2015, released by police commissioner KK Pathak and Joint Police Commissioner Sunil Ramanand, shows that the number of cases of rape have gone up from 198 in 2014 to 264 in the year 2015, a rise of approximately 33 per cent. The cases of molestation have recorded an even higher rise—from 454 in 2014 to 705 in 2015, states the data.
Ramanand said, “This rise in the number of reported cases of rape and molestation is mainly due to increased awareness, leading more women to come forward with the complaints. Every police station now has dedicated women staffers looking after such cases of crime and these are given top priority. With such steps, the confidence and trust towards the police in these cases have considerably increased.”
Senior police officers say that after the 2012 Delhi gang rape case, the subsequent nationwide debate on crime against women, and the outcome — a significant amendment in the Section 354 (Molestation) and 376 (Rape) of the Indian Penal Code, could also be a reason why women feel more empowered to come and register such crimes freely.
A senior police inspector says, “We have seen a constant rise in the number of registered cases of crime after the Delhi gang rape case. The amendments broadened the definitions of rape and molestation. This has resulted in more women coming forward to register such complaints. At the same time, we cannot deny that in a few cases, both the sides are at fault but the crime gets registered against the man.”
A senior woman police officer said, “I have observed that post Delhi gang rape case, women feel that these cases should be reported. Many cases, where the abusers are family members or close acquaintances, are now being reported, which was not the case six to seven years ago. But there is still a long way to go. Many cases which were earlier just registered cases of cheating, where a woman was duped on the pretext of marriage, are now being registered as cases of rape.”
A detailed report on the age group, social and educational background of both victims and accused persons in the cases of crime against women will be released by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in the coming months.