In the past five years, crime against women has seen a significant spike in Chandigarh. SAS Nagar and Panchkula are no different.
Be it molestation, rape or even the cases of snatching, all went up. In comparison to around 200 cases of crime against women registered in 2009, this year till November 20, 345 cases have been registered. Last year, around 300 cases were registered. The maximum number of cases is of molestation —129 so far, as against 45 last year.
The surge in molestation cases is also being attributed to awareness drives initiated in the city by police, with SSP Naunihal Singh holding talks in colleges and schools. The 16/12 Delhi gangrape last year appears to have had its effect too in terms of awareness.
Under the ‘sexual harassment’ head, there is a dip in cases, as per the data, but a comparison over the long term shows that the cases have increased significantly since 2008. However, this year, 35 rape cases were registered, as against 27 last year. The majority of these cases had minor girls as victims, particularly those from slums, and the offenders were relatives or neighbours.
With the advent of technology, misuse of the virtual space is also being witnessed. At least 12 cases were registered by the cyber crime cell, wherein women complained that someone had morphed their pictures and out them online.
SAS Nagar district has seen almost double the number of molestation and rape cases as compared to last year. While it saw 66 cases of molestation as against 31 last year and just 13 in 2010, rape incidents went up to 46 in comparison to 22 last year and 24 in 2010. But ‘eve-teasing’ (categorised as sexual harassment in the law now) cases were only three, reflecting that girls here still hesitate to complain about something casually seen as ‘routine’.
In Panchkula too, data of the past four years shows a drastic increase in molestation cases, at 35 till now in 2013, as against nine last year in the district. Panchkula police attribute this to the amendments in the Indian Penal Code that widened the definition of sexual harassment. The law now includes stalking and other such forms. The number of rape cases has also witnessed a 50% increase from last year.
Tomorrow: markets and student areas