More cases of molestation (48) have been reported to the police in the district this year till October than in 2011 and 2012 (a total of 30) put together.
HT tried to delineate a trend on the number of reported crimes against women and what are the authorities doing to control and curb such gender-specific crimes.
Apart from the increase in molestation cases, the number of attempt to rape cases registered have doubled to 7 from 3 in 2012 (see table for figures).
Experts say that a number of socio-economic factors have contributed to the increased number of crimes against women. Increasing unemployment among men could be an important factor that breeds frustration and causes crime.
Recent instances like the December 2012 gangrape and the societal support that the victim got have also emboldened women to be more forthcoming and register their complaints.
In Bathinda, a number of measures have been initiated to deal with the menace. A women helpline number (2215020) is dedicated to help women in distress. Complaints of women are also registered on priority at police control numbers 181 and 100.
Complaints are dealt by Crime Against Women (CAW) cell of district headed by a woman police official of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) rank.
DSP (CAW) Rupinder Kaur Sran claimed that crime had been contained. Incidents of eve-teasing and stalking had been curbed with the movement of 10 PCR teams of two women each, moving on scooters.
However, she added that crime against women arising out of domestic issues is their main concern.
Newly-appointed SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said his top priority would be to check crime against women.
"We will be doing a weekly review of number of complaints by women and list the number of cases solved. This will keep us informed of the progress in checking such crime."
Member of District AIDS control organisation Raj Gupta said that crime against women was relatively less in the district that in other parts of the state.
We will be doing a weekly review of number of complaints by women and list the number of cases solved. This will keep us informed of the progress in checking such crime
Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP
SOCIAL WORKER QUOTE
Crime against women was relatively less in the district that in other parts of the state.
Raj Gupta, member, district AIDS control organisation
VOX POP QUESTION
95% women in Chandigarh, also the capital of Punjab, faced sexual harassment in last one year, according to a survey carried out by Hindustan Times in association with Institute of Development and Communication (IDC). SAS Nagar district is no safer with 92% women admitting that they have faced sexual harassment of some kind.
Is your city safe? What steps are needed to make it safer for you?
I do not feel safe at all. Passing of stricter laws could help, but what is even more important is strict implementation and punishment. Men should be afraid of the consequences before they harass us, which is not the case now. Unemployment aids such crimes and government must create more avenues to keep young men busy
Sukhmanpreet Kaur Sidhu Mansa
No, we are always worried about our safety. Eve-teasing is also a crime and should not be taken lightly. Immediate and strict action should be taken in such cases. Policemen on patrol duties must be empowered to take action against such culprits on their own and urgently
We are not safe and always seek the shelter of a male member of our family when we have to move out. Society dominates us and forces us to suppress our complaints. As a welcome change, woman constables are being spotted at some points of the city. This has checked eve-teasing to an extent
Jasleen Kaur Sidhu Faridkot
No, safety is a concern. Police men on PCR duties should be trained on how to act and deal with girls. Sometimes, they also tend to be offensive and leering in their behavior towards women. Respect for women needs to be taught to all.
Jaspreet Kaur, Bathinda.
To ensure safety, girls must get themselves trained in self defence as the police cannot be everywhere. No doubt, the police is there for our service and they also help. However, to expect to always be there for is wrong. We need to become independent.
Inderpreet Kaur Brar Muktsar
We should be not be afraid to pitch in. Funds should be collected to advertise helpline numbers. In our
entire cotton belt area, there is hardly any advertisement seen to popularise helpline numbers, where women could call to get their complaints registered
Saravjeet Kaur, Bathinda.
Yes, Bathinda is safe. I feel the district is safer than other cities of the state. Political parties have also taken steps to educate the people of our city. Girls are provided with helpline numbers to make them safe.
Roopamjit Kaur Bathinda.
Safety is always a issue. As a working girl, it is very risky for me travel to reach home in the evening. PCR vans are spotted only at some selected points, even as I believed they are supposed to be available on all points, where there no street lights
Compiled by Ashpuneet Kaur Sandhu