Sexual crime against children are on a steady rise in Rajasthan, with over 250 cases reported in the first six months this year.
According to the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) data, in the first 182 days this year, 283 cases were lodged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. This indicates that on an average, at least one child was sexual harassed in the state everyday.
The SCRB data also reveals that the total numbers of accused in the 283 cases were 464 — that is, in several cases, children were sexually assaulted by more than one person.
Baran district, with 18 cases, has registered the maximum number of cases under the POCSO Act so far. The situation in state capital too is little different.
Within a span of just a few weeks, three men, including a disabled person, were arrested on charges of raping and molesting girls aged between two and three years old in Jaipur.
The SCRB data reveals that the administration has not been able to tighten the noose on the criminals. So far the police have arrested only 78 of the 464 accused, while charge sheet has been filed against 85. This means that out of the 464 accused only 163 people have been apprehended so far.
Justice delayed, justice denied
Experts said that the rise in sexual crimes against children needs to be seen in the context of the changing social and legal scenarios.
“The POCSO is a very powerful legislation, which assures justice by promising harshest punishment to the people found sexually abusing children. But the problem is in our judiciary where justice eventually gets delayed. In most cases it has been seen that instead of the prescribed limit of six months, years pass by before justice is finally delivered. Delayed justice reduces fear among the accused,” child rights activist Deepak Kalra told HT.
She added the increasing exposure to pornography was also one of the main reason behind the increasing cases. “These cases are testimony of the fact that perversion is creeping into the lives of people and they are venting their sexual frustration on children,” said Kalra.
The child right activist said most cases of sexual crime against children were reported from rural areas as children and women were attacked to settle personal scores between families.
Chairperson of Rajasthan State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Manan Chaturvedi, said there was a need for a study to understand the causes behind the increase of such crimes.
“I am planning to conduct a district-wise study in Rajasthan wherein every cases registered under the POCSO Act will be analysed individually. We have tied up with counsellors, who will analyse different aspects — such as the age, professions and background of the accused. We expect to prevent such cases in the future with the help of this study,” Chaturvedi said, adding that rehabilitation of the victims was also important to prevent such cases.
“I have asked the administration to speed up all pending cases under the POCSO Act and make sure that justice is delivered to the victims at the earliest,” said Chaturvedi, who adopted a three-year-old woman who was raped on the SMS Hospital premises.