Look back in shame, Ranchi. You are the state’s undisputed rape capital.
The 2012 annual report compiled by Jharkhand Police shows that Ranchi has retained its position as the district witnessing maximum number of rapes. In 2011, it had topped the disgrace list with 84 cases, which is six more than the figure of 78 last year.
Following close on the heels is the Santhal Pargana district of Sahebganj, with 65 cases compared to 71 in 2011. East Singhbhum ranks third with 56 in 2012 and 39 in 2011; and rebel bastion Garhwa comes fourth with 50 in 2012 and 53 in 2011.
According to CID officers, the percentage of rapes in Jharkhand has increased by 33 per cent in the last five years. And this despite the fact that a high percentage of such incidents go unreported.
IG (organised crime), CID, Anurag Gupta said the total number of rapes reported from across the state last year was a staggering 795, higher than 784 in 2011.
These cases have been registered in all the 24 districts (not in descending order) — Ranchi, Sahebganj, East Singhbhum, Garhwa, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Khunti, Gumla, Simdega, Lohardaga, West Singhbhum, Seraikela-Kharsawan, Palamau, Latehar, Hazaribagh, Ramgarh, Koderma, Chatra, Giridih, Dumka, Godda, Jamtara, Deoghar and Pakur.
“What is surprising is that not-so-developed districts like Khunti saw only eight rape cases in 2012, followed by Latehar (15) and Chatra (16) compared to Ranchi and East Singhbhum, which house two elite cities of the state,” Gupta said.
Sanjay Mishra, a member of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR), pointed out that the maximum number of rape cases were reported from the rural hinterland and Maoist hotbeds.
“Often, girls who refuse to be a part of the Naxalite movement pay with their modesty. It is an ugly truth in rebel zones,” he said.
Mishra pointed out that the fair sex in rural Jharkhand was caught between the devil and deep sea. “They are prompted to leave their villages because of Maoist fear. They go looking for jobs and become victims of trafficking,” he said.
Mishra further claimed that an alarming 90 per cent of rape cases were not registered at police stations because of indifferent attitude of the men in uniform who often torment victims with uncomfortable questions.
IG Gupta said they were trying their best to check crime, especially those against women. “We plan to make special arrangements so that rape victims can lodge FIRs without feeling traumatised. For starters, policewomen will be deputed at every thana.”
Besides, each police station will have to maintain an FIR diary. “We will also introduce helplines. In rural areas, any policeman misbehaving with victims will be taken to task. For rape, a case will have to be registered within 24 hours,” the IG said.
In rape cases, charges are booked under Section 376 of the IPC and the accused can be punished with up to 10 years of imprisonment.
How can policing be made effective in rural Jharkhand?