Pune police trying to downplay increasing sex crimes?
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Last Updated: Saturday, May 08, 2010, 11:32
  
Pune: Even as they continue to step up vigilance to arrest an alarming rise in sex crimes in the city, Pune Police have drawn flak from women's groups for purportedly seeking to downplay the issue.

What has agitated the women activists is a survey released by police, which claims that as per their statistics over 70 percent of the rape cases were filed belatedly by the victims who first agreed to consensual sex act and later chose to file complaints when the promise of marriage was not kept by the accused men.

Addressing a meeting of women's organisations convened here last week to discuss security measures being implemented by police to curb sex crimes, a senior police official contended that a majority of rape cases registered were "fall out of love affairs".

Complaints in such episodes were lodged after considerable delay and this made the job of gathering evidence difficult for the investigators, he argued.

This contention was later supported by DCP (Crime) Anil Kumbhare citing statistics over the last couple of years.

The officials claimed that the statistics showed cases of harassment filed by women had actually dropped in the city.

However, the police claim has not gone down well with representatives of women who have raised doubts over the conclusions drawn by the law enforcing machinery.

Questioning the findings, Kiran Moghe, who heads Pune unit of All India Democratic Women's Association, said the police survey also mentioned that most of the cases that fell under the category of consensual sex involved underage girls.

"If that is true, then it is a contradiction as sex with minor should be considered as a rape because the consent aspect in such cases is void," she said talking to a news agency.

Moghe rubbished the police statistics and said lack of sensitivity on part of authorities while handling complaints of sexual assault on women could have resulted in registration of less number of cases during the period under reference.

Apart from an increased number of sex crimes, the city has also witnessed a spurt in the cases of domestic violence, she added. "A liberalised liquor policy in Maharashtra could be a contributory factor to this malady."

Echoing her views, Neelam Gorhe, Shiv Sena MLC who has been associated with a women's cell, "Stree Adhar Kendra", for the last three decades, said she could not agree with the police version of nature of rape cases emanating from failed love affairs and betrayals.

"One needs to ponder over as to why police are releasing this kind of survey when the whole law and order machinery in the city has come under a scanner following a series of rapes reported in last one and a half months."

It could well be a ploy to divert the public's attention from their own failure to curb crime against women, said Gorhe, who has demanded removal of Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh.

Striking a conservative note, Vidya Bal, who is associated with a magazine devoted to women's issues, said "It will be pertinent to ask whether the married woman who was gang-raped at Hinjwadi (an IT hub on Pune's outskirts) did the right thing when she hailed a private taxi for a lift."

"We have to accept the fact that consumerism, easy money and loose morals can spell trouble for unsuspecting women when they go out to do jobs demanding gender parity. She remains vulnerable in the eyes of the male hunter."

Responding to the demand voiced by various NGOs, the Pune police have now decided to set up special cells for women in as many as 20 police stations, which will be increased further in phases to cover all parts of the burgeoning city.

These cells would be headed by women of the rank of Sub-Inspector and would have four female Constables.

Another initiative is the establishment of a joint security task force at Hinjewadi IT park area which has been a witness to many sex crimes because of its remote location.

The task force comprises a quick response team drawn from the security personnel of Hinjewadi Industries Association (HIA) and Pune Police.

PTI


First Published: Saturday, May 08, 2010, 11:32


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