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Rape alarm for police

The gang rape of a woman in New Delhi has come as a rude reminder for police in Patna about the promises they had made following a similar incident two years ago but did not keep.

An NGO worker was raped by an auto driver and his friends on the outskirts of Patna in December 2010. Immediately after the incident, the men in uniform announced a plethora of security measures to avoid such cases. But it took barely six months for the initiative to lose steam and the capital continues to be a happy hunting ground for molesters and eve-teasers.

“A middle-aged woman was raped by a group of men, including an autorickshaw driver, in a suburb of Patna in December 2010. Then senior superintendent of police (SSP) Bachchu Singh Meena (who is now the deputy-inspector general of Purnea range) had launched two initiatives to stop such incidents. One was unique numbering system for autorickshaws and the second was the ‘May I Help You’ kiosk at Patna railway station. The aim was to protect women reaching Patna in the evening by trains,” an officer, who was a deputy superintendent of police in Patna in 2010, told The Telegraph on Wednesday.

“The plans went on for some time but were ultimately forgotten. Two years have passed and the initiatives have to be revived. In a city like Patna, the police have to be proactive,” the officer added.

The recent incident in the national capital has, however, prompted the police to think revival of the initiative taken in 2010.

“There’s always a scope to revive the initiatives. But for this, the police need to study what the plan was and what has to be done to launch it again. We will look into the matter and make a study,” Patna SSP Amrit Raj told The Telegraph on Wednesday.

The rape of the NGO worker was not an isolated incident in Patna.

On September 28, 2012, a 19-year-old girl was found gang raped by a group of five men at the personal residence of a Congress MLA from Jharkhand. The incident occured in the West Patel Nagar area that falls under the jurisdiction of the Shastri Nagar police station. The victim, a resident of Chandauli in Uttar Pradesh, was found in a semi-conscious conscious state near Patna Junction by a police patrol team.

On September 12, a 20-year-old woman was gang raped at a private lodge in the Rajeev Nagar area. The victim, a resident of Digha, said in her statement to the police that she had come to road number 24 of Rajeev Nagar near a lodge looking for her elder sister.

The gang rape of a schoolgirl inside a flat in the Rajvanshi Nagar area in June was another shame for Patna. The criminals had made a multi-media clip of the victim and even circulated it. The National Commission for Women had criticised the government for the incident and described the state of affairs as a “jungle raj”.

Statistics available with the state police revealed that Patna recorded the highest number of rape cases (40) in 2012 (till October) compared to 11 districts coming under the jurisdiction of the Patna range. Last year too, the number of rape cases was highest in Patna — 41.

Several women felt that the police have to be proactive to check such crimes in Patna. “Eve teasing and molestations have been frequent and most of these incidents have occurred in daylight. The police should be more sensitive rather than acting after an incident,” Shreya, a college student, said.

A police officer claimed that the men in uniform were more visible in action these days. He said: “It is not that the police don’t act. Nowadays, there is a police team in front of every college to take care of any problem. Earlier this year, the police caught two boys who had assaulted a girl at Hartali Mor.”