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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Delhi is still not safe for women

Faizan Haider, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 07, 2013
First Published: 00:02 IST(7/3/2013) | Last Updated: 02:27 IST(7/3/2013)

The horrific gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedic inside a moving bus in Delhi last year led to a nationwide outrage and forced the government and the police to take steps to make the capital safer for women.

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The harsh reality is Delhi hasn’t changed for the better since then — it has become worse. There has been a drastic increase in crime against women in the first two months of 2013.

Till March 3, 247 cases of rape were registered in comparison to 110 last year — a increase of 124%. Incidents of molestation also rose by 558% as 586 cases were registered in comparison to 89 last year.

The police attribute the steep rise to the prompt registration of cases and awareness after the December 16 gang rape.

In 2012, Delhi saw 706 rapes, the highest in the past 10 years -- which earned it the tag of ‘rape capital’.

“After the gang rape, we issued strict guidelines to file FIRs on all complaints by women. Also, people became aware and are coming forward with complaints,” a senior police officer said.

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However, the figures raise a crucial question: Were the police reluctant in filing FIRs earlier?

Activists say the rise shows that the police have failed to implement the guidelines they had promised for the safety of women.

“It is a cause of worry. Women still don’t feel safe here. Announcements are made for making the city safe, but nothing concrete has been done,” said Ranjana Kumari, a women’s rights activist.

“Women continue to face harassment. The rise in cases is a proof of that. But they are reporting more cases,” she added.

The police argue that in majority of the rape cases, the victims are known to the accused and it becomes difficult to prevent such crimes in these circumstances.

But in 2012, the number of rapes committed by strangers also saw an increase. In 2011, 2.46 % of the total rape accused were strangers and in 2012 the percentage increased to 3.68%.

After the December 16 gang rape, over 40 women were raped in 15 days — almost three rapes every day.

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