West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday linked rising cases of rapes to increase in the population, while claiming that there were only 45 such cases till November 2012 in Kolkata in comparison to 621 in Delhi in the same year.
"The population is increasing. Is the population in West Bengal the same as it was during the time of Bidhan Chandra Roy? You have raised many questions on law order. You are saying that rapes are increasing," Banerjee told the Assembly.
"The population is increasing, cars are increasing, infrastructure is increasing, shopping malls are increasing. Inoxes (multiplex) are coming up. Young people are becoming modern. Don't you welcome it?" she asked while winding up the debate on the Governor's address.
Alleging that newspapers were deliberately exaggerating rape cases, she said that earlier women felt shy of reporting such cases.
"There has been an increase in social consciousness. Now they are registering complaints. This is a good sign. Earlier complaints were not even registered," the chief minister said.
Stating that there should not be even one case of rape, she cited statistics for Kolkata saying that there were 44 rape cases in 2007, 35 in 2008, 42 in 2009, 32 in 2010, 38 in 2011 and 45 in 2012.
In the state there were 1,673 rape cases in 2005, 1,693 in 2006, 2,062 in 2007, 2,228 in 2008, 2,292 in 2009, 2,279 in 2010, 1,650 in 2011 and 1,836 up to November in 2012.
In 2011 there were 453 rape cases in Delhi, 221 in Mumbai, 97 in Bangalore, and 76 in Chennai, she said adding that in 2012, there were 621 rapes in Delhi.