Ranchi: Jharkhand is working through a surge in crimes against women with a headless women's commission.
More than a month and a half has passed since the three-year tenure of Mahuwa Manjhi, the last Chairperson of the Jharkahnd Women's Commission, ended on November 10 but the top post at the women's rights panel is still lying vacant.
This year till October, more than 1,000 rape cases were reported in the state. In December alone, four women were burnt to death in the state, besides the rape and murder of a four-year-old girl, whose mutilated body was found on December 22.
A 19-year-old engineering student was raped, strangulated and set afire on December 16.
On December 14, an elderly woman and her husband in Simdega district were burnt to death on allegations of practicing black magic.
Another woman was burnt alive on December 12 in Khuti district, also on wild charges of practicing black magic.
Earlier, a minor girl was burnt and thrown in a well after she protested alleged gangrape attempt in Seraikela-Kharsawa district.
"Now the commission is handicapped as police officials are least bothered to reply to the queries of the commission. The chairperson of the commission has many powers, which help us to ensure justice to the victims," an official of the commission told IANS.
The opposition parties have criticised Chief Minister Raghubar Das and his Bharatiya Janata Party government for keeping the constitutional posts vacant.
"Raghubar Das has demeaned the dignity of constitutional posts. A PIL is pending against Health Minister, Chief Minister and others. Despite the corruption charges, the Lokayukta and other posts are lying vacant," Jharkhand Congress General Secretary Alok Dubey told IANS.
"Shameful incidents against women took place this month as JCW chairperson post has been lying vacant for over a month," he added.
The posts of Lokayukta, Chairperson of the Minority Commission and Chief of the state Election Commissioner are lying vacant from last six months to one year.
No arrest has been made in the rape and murder case of the 19-year-old engineering student so far. A Special Investigating Team (SIT) has been formed to probe the incident.
The Ranchi police have also announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for the person who provides information on the case.