| Women sit in protest against rape in Imphal. File picture |
Imphal, July 2: Alarmed by rising cases of crimes against women and children in the state, an Imphal-based NGO, Women Action for Development, today demanded constitution of a working committee of the Manipur Assembly to deal with these crimes.
According to data compiled by the NGO, there were 147 reported cases of crimes against women and children from January 1 to June 30 this year, including 15 murders, 23 rapes and four molestation attempts.
“These are only reported cases and are only the tip of the iceberg as there are many more crimes which go unreported,” Sobita Mangshatabam, secretary of the NGO, said.
She said there were seven cases of suicide, which were suspected to be cases of murder.
The demand for a House panel came after reports of the death of a pregnant woman and her one-year-old baby under suspicious circumstances in Imphal yesterday and alleged rape of a six-year-old in Chandel district last week by a 30-year-old man.
Sushila Devi, 30, was found hanging while her baby was found dead on the bed in her husband’s house at Elangbam Leikai in Imphal city last afternoon.
Suspecting foul play, relatives of the woman dismantled the house of her husband, identified as Elangbam Dhiren, 50, who is now in police custody.
In the other case, D.S. Khadar, who is accused of assaulting the six-year-old girl after luring her to an under-construction building in the evening of June 28 in Chandel district, is absconding.
“The crimes are rising because of low rates of conviction and punishment. This is primarily because the police are dragging their feet in investigating the cases,” Sobita said.
The NGO feels that the 60-member state Assembly should intervene by setting up a legislative working committee on crimes against women and children during the state Assembly session that begins on July 11 and ends on July 28.
“We will launch a series of agitation during the session to mount pressure on the MLAs,” she said.
The NGO also demanded a white paper on crimes against women and children during the past 10 years detailing number of cases, conviction rate, pending cases within six months.
It also demanded that all the police stations should also not delay investigating the cases and framing chargesheets.
“We have strong suspicion that Sushila and her child were murdered. In fact, three persons were killed, as the woman was pregnant. The police should go to the bottom of the case to clear doubts in the people’s minds,” Sobita said.