More than 50 per cent of “sheer molestation” cases reported in Pune over an 11-month period happened in public places, and almost one out of five such cases occurred at the workplace, reveals a study conducted in the city.
Conducted by a team from the SNDT Arts and Commerce College for Women, the study also revealed the alarming number of cases in which the victims were minor girls. The team analysed 457 cases of molestation registered with 30 police stations in the jurisdiction of Pune City Police between January 2018 and November 2018.
“Sheer molestation” cases are those in which no previous dispute or enmity is involved, said the study team.
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A report on the study’s findings was submitted to the office of Police Commissioner K Venkatesham, and shared with mediapersons on Friday in the presence of Additional Commissioner of Police (crime) Ashok Morale and Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) Bachchan Singh.
Of the 457 cases analysed, minor girls were the victims in 99 cases. “The cases were divided into four categories: those involving previous dispute, cases involving enticement/inducement, cases involving morbidity (unnatural acts) and cases involving misuse of Internet and technology,” said Dr Madhavi Kulkarni, who was part of the study team.
While 112 cases were lodged under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), in some cases, other sections of Indian Penal Code pertaining to crimes like torture and threats were also invoked.
“… We found 48 cases of sheer molestation, in which there was no previous dispute or any inducement. The analysis revealed that the number of these cases was higher in the jurisdiction of five police stations. One woman police officer from each of these five police stations was selected for the focus group discussion conducted for qualitative analysis of these cases,” said Vasanti Joshi, another member of the team.
In seven of these 48 cases, a minor girl was the victim. Of these cases, 26 happened in public places, nine in work places and 13 in private places. The victim was familiar with the accused in 21 of the 48 cases.
The report recommended the need to create awareness about Section 354 among women from all sections of society, the need to strengthen the implementation of the section without delays, giving priority to security and safety of women at public places and educating higher secondary students about interpersonal relationships.
ACP Morale said the recommendations would be considered and steps will be taken accordingly for the safety and security of women.
The study team comprised Vice-Principal of SNDT College Dr Madhavi Kulkarni, Head of Department (HoD) of Economics, Dr Madhura Joshi, HoD, Psychology Manasee Rajhans, and HoD, Commerce, Vasanti Joshi.