The number of registered crimes against women in the city’s north region — between Goregaon and Dahisar — rose about 40% in 2015 from the previous year, and the police managed to solve only 60% of these (693 of 1137), compared with 85% (676 of 800) in 2014. The number of cases of rape, kidnapping and molestation were all up from 2014.
In 2014, 66 cases of minor girls being kidnapped were registered in the region, of which the police solved 48. Last year, this number skyrocketed to 207, but the police were able to solve only 41 cases. This means a mere 20% of such cases were solved in 2015, compared with 73% in 2014.
Several officers HT spoke to argued that most of these cases were not actual kidnappings but incidents of minor girls running away from home.
“When a girl under 18 goes missing, we have to register a case of kidnapping under the law. We take these cases on priority and do not discriminate [between these and ‘real’ kidnappings],” said an assistant inspector, who did not wish to be named.
He added, “If a girl has eloped with someone, it is unlikely that they will be able to hide forever. Eventually, they will run out of money and contact someone. With technological advancement, we are able to track down more of them and reunite them with family. But in many cases, it takes months to locate them.”
Other officials claimed the number of kidnapping cases in the region was high because of the many slums there. “In slums, most people cannot pay enough attention to their children. When a minor girl falls in love with someone, she may not think twice before running away with him. In most cases, the boy will take her to his home town or village, where they will get married,” said a senior police inspector.
The number of rapes registered also increased in 2015, when, of the 180 cases registered, 96 involved minor girls. The police solved 90 of these 96 cases, but only 66 of the 84 cases involving adult women. Police officials said in the case of adult women, rape charges are often pressed when the man refuses to marry the woman. In such cases, which the police refer to as ‘technical’ rapes, the accused usually arrested immediately as his identity is known, according to the police.
To curb the number of crimes against women, the police have intensified patrolling in the area, and have adopted a zero-tolerance policy on crimes against women, under which cases are registered as soon as they are reported.