The year that started with the molestation of two NRI women outside a five-star hotel in Juhu went on to witness a steep rise in crime against women.
Annual crime statistics of the Mumbai police, obtained by HT, shows that more incidents of rape, especially involving minors, and molestation were registered in the city in 2008 as compared to previous years.
In 2007, 172 rape cases were registered; in 2008 it jumped to 215. Molestation cases shot up from 356 in 2007 to 427 in 2008.
Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor, however, said that the rise in figures has more to do with women reporting crimes rather than a rise in crime rate. “Women have become more aware of their rights and have started speaking up,” he said. “Women are not shying away to register cases of molestation or rape. Over the years, women have become more independent and have peer support.”
“We have also roped in more non-governmental organisations that help motivate women to report crimes,” he said.
More women are now recruited in the police force, and has made it easier for victims to report crimes. “When they see more women in the police station, they do not shy away,” Gafoor said. Crackdowns and rescue operations on brothels could have contributed to cases being registered.