When the country remembers the horrific December 16 Delhi gang rape that sparked nationwide protests against crime against women, this piece of information could cause concern back home in Uttarakhand: the number of rape cases has been on the rise ever since that incident in 2012.
In 2012, the number of rape cases in Uttarakhand stood at 137 which shot up to 205 in 2013, followed by a rise to 245 in 2014, according to figures provided by the Uttarakhand police.
As many as 226 rape cases have already been registered till October this year.
Dehradun, a major education hub, attracts a large number of students from around the country and hosts a sizeable population of young professionals arriving in the city for work opportunities.
The Delhi gang rape victim, too, had pursued graduation in physiotherapy from a Dehradun-based institute, right before moving to Delhi for an internship in December 2012.
Uttarkashi girl Aakriti Dhoundiyal, who came in Dehradun two years ago to pursue engineering, said there is a streak of fear in her mind whenever she has to venture outdoors after dusk. “I always carry a pepper spray in my bag …you never know when it might come in handy, especially after evening hours.”
Sandhya Rawat, an engineering aspirant who returns home late in the evenings after her coaching classes, said she doesn’t think things have changed much after the 2012 incident. “It is a cause of worry to know that even in a hill state like Uttarakhand, rape cases are growing,” she said.
Director general of police BS Sidhu said the growing number of rape cases could be attributed to the national awakening created after the Delhi incident.
“More and more women are now coming forward to register crimes against them, especially post the 2012 case,” he said, adding the police staff had been asked to act promptly on all complaints received from women.
On Tuesday, sports minister Dinesh Aggarwal announced that students in government girl high schools and inter-colleges across the state would get training in self-defense classes.
“Girls of classes 9 to 12 will be taught judo-karate. I have asked the education department officials to ensure that training sessions begin from the next academic year,” Aggarwal said.