Though there has been a decline in the number of rape cases in Madhya Pradesh in 2015, the state recorded the maximum number of rape cases in the country in 2015, according to the latest report released by the National Crime Records Bureau on Wednesday.
The taint as the number one state in terms of rape cases in the country, has worried many, including civil society members and police officials.
Serving and retired police officials say there are a number of factors responsible for the alarming number of rape cases in the state but it does not mean that the law and order situation in Madhya Pradesh is worse than many other states.
Also, given the role of judiciary, NGOs and alert civil society members, registration of cases, especially heinous crime like rape cannot be avoided by police, some of them say.
Civil society members, however, feel that police need to look into crime against women more seriously and investigation and prosecution have to be more focused and result oriented so that the conviction rate in rape cases goes up.
More than 35% of the state’s population belong to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes who are vulnerable to crime like rape so the social system has to be strengthened to protect the section from oppression from criminals.
Experts say that changing lifestyle too is contributing to the alarming rate of crime in the state.
Additional director general of police (crime against women) Aruna Mohan Rao, says that in more than 94% of cases, accused were known to victims. In such a situation, there was a need to create more awareness in the society, especially among girls and their parents.
“We have a zero tolerance policy on crime. Many false cases are registered as a fall out of property disputes. But the police cannot deny registering cases as it’s only after an investigation that police can reach a conclusion whether a case is false or genuine,” she says.
“Police are prompt in registering crime in the state and there are many options like helpline and public hearing through which people can approach police besides going to the police station directly.”
Police trainers will train girls in 20 educational institutions of Bhopal in self-defence techniques from Thursday and other districts too will be covered under the initiative, she says.
Former state director general of police Diensh Jugran, says that law and order situation in Madhya Pratesh was far better than many other states.
Nirmala Buch, former state chief secretary, says there were several factors responsible for rape and police need to act more promptly in such crime.
Civil society member Arun Gurtoo says poverty was a major factor behind the increasing number of cases of rape. “To some extent, lifestyle change was also responsible for such cases,” he says.