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Women remain soft targets

- Senior cop attributes high crime record to easier case registration process

Patna, July 6: The crime against women has steadily increased in the second term of the JDU regime, casting a shadow on the good governance claim of the present dispensation and suggesting that more victims are mustering courage to register complaint against their tormentors.

Going by the latest statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau, women are vulnerable to crime in the state. Worse, rapes have increased by alarming proportions during the present dispensation as compared to the RJD regime — often described as “jungle raj” (lawlessness) by the then Opposition leaders.

The state recorded 1,128 rape cases in 2013 — as many as 201 more than that in 2012. Similarly, 4,432 girls and women were kidnapped in 2013 — 632 more as compared to 2012. The incidents of sexual harassment also showed a rising trend with 326 cases being reported under this head. In 2012, only 118 cases of sexual harassment were lodged.

There was a lot of hue and cry in 2004 after the state recorded 1,063 cases of rape when Rabri Devi was the chief minister. Former chief minister Nitish Kumar, who came to power in November 2005, never missed any occasion to criticise the Lalu-Rabri regime for the deteriorating law and order. But the figures compiled by the State Crime Records Bureau as well as the National Crime Records Bureau are startling. A total of 11,748 cases of atrocities against women were registered in 2013, when he was the chief minister.

A rough analysis of the crime figures revealed that more than 30 women were approaching the police every day with complaints of atrocities against them. Over three rapes are being reported in every 24 hours and almost three women are being killed for dowry each day.

Be it rape, harassment for dowry, sexual harassment or kidnapping for marriage or other purposes, crime against women has alarmingly increased. Only the number of dowry deaths dipped in 2012 and 2013 as compared to 2011 and 2010, which had recorded 1,361 and 1,307 cases of dowry deaths, respectively. Total 1,202 dowry deaths were registered in 2013, while around 1,275 dowry killings were reported in 2012.

Senior police officers partially attributed the increase in crime against women to easy registration of cases. “We have made it mandatory to register the FIRs in cases of crime against women immediately. Earlier, the police used to lodge a complaint or an FIR after the complaints were found to be true in preliminary investigation. Now, every case reaching the police is being registered,” said inspector-general (weaker sections) Arvind Pandey.

He said not only the complaints are being properly registered, the offenders are being prosecuted by the court of law. He said Bihar has the maximum number of fast track courts in India — 183. Women counsellors have been deployed at the police station-level in most of the districts to help the victims of such crimes, he added.

Former director-general of police (DGP) Neel Mani also attributed the rise in figures of crime against women to easy registration of complaints and sensitisation of the policemen. “The police personnel are now more sensitive towards women. Complaints can be easily lodged at the women police stations,” he told The Telegraph.

He said it was a good sign that the victims were coming forward to lodge their complaints. “Earlier, many cases used to go unreported because social stigma attached to them,” Neel Mani, a member of the Bihar State Human Rights Commission, said.

Social activist Suman Lal stressed the need of social awakening and changes in the attitude of the people so that due respect and equal status was given to women. She blamed the law enforcing agencies for the spurt in crime against women. “The law enforcing agencies have failed to create a sense of fear among the perpetrators of crime. The offenders are not afraid of the consequences. Had it not been the case, atrocities against women would have come down drastically,” she added.

The child rights activists are more concerned with the trend of murders of minors (read rape victims). A former member of the State Child Rights Commission Dr Nishindra Kinjalk (also a medical practitioner) said Bihar ranked third after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra in the number of minors murders. “It’s a matter of grave concern that the state continues to register a growing number of rape and murder cases of minors,” he told The Telegraph.

Sociologist and retired professor of Patna University Hetukar Jha said a number of initiatives had been taken by the government for the empowerment of women. “But what is lacking is speedy disposal of the complaints of atrocities against them. The government machinery should look into this aspect,” he added.


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