Expressing concern over the unprecedented surge in crimes against women, National Women's Commission (NCW) chairperson Girija Vyas on Thursday, citing the National Crime Record Bureau figures, said Madhya Pradesh reported the highest number of rapes in the country in the last five years.
Talking to reporters in Bhopal, Vyas said though the state stands third in the country in the number of rape cases, as per the figures given by state government, the matter of concern was the rising incidence of rape and the lower ratio of convictions in the state rather than its statistical position.
The NCW chairperson, however, said that a sexual assault bill, which will cover all other forms of harassment, including sexual harassment other than rape - proposed by the commission - will put a check on the assault on women in any form.
The proposed bill, which would enable the recording of the statement of the victim secretly, she said, would also go a long way in providing justice to women as they will not be able to change their statements under pressure. "If any rape victim identifies the accused, then he should be immediately arrested," she said.
Vyas also said that women should be made aware about the Domestic Violence Act so that they know their rights.
Answering a question on virginity tests episode in the state, Vyas said the commission has asked the state government to review the scheme and to take action against the guilty.
Expressing concern on trafficking cases, she said such cases have increased in three years and they are being overlooked. Similarly, a proper search is not being held for missing women and children.
Vyas also expressed unhappiness over the treatment meted out to sprint queen P.T. Usha during the 49th National Open Athletics Championship here, saying Usha was an athlete of international repute and should not have been treated shabbily.
She also called for resignation of state Sports and Tourism Minister Tukojirao Pawar. A local court has framed charges against Pawar for allegedly threatening election returning officer Sanjana Jain on Nov 8, 2008 - about a fortnight before the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh were held - and a case was filed Nov 10.