Despite the tall claims of equality and empowerment, women in Mumbai are feeling increasingly unsafe and instances of violence against them are on the rise.
While some crimes such as dowry-related deaths and harassment have seen a steep decline, serious offences such as rape, molestation and kidnapping have increased drastically.
Until August 2010, the Mumbai police had registered 39 cases of rape; the number has shot up to 56 for same period this year. Similarly, 12 women were reported kidnapped from January to August 2010, which has increased to 19 for the same period this year.
The safety perception takes its most serious hit when molestation cases are compared — from 287 recorded until August 2010, they have risen to 345 this year.
A senior woman police officer said, “Most labourers living here are alien and are mostly staying alone or with other men. Their families, if any, are back in their hometowns and to fulfill their prurient desires they target women in their area, which leads to increase in cases of rape and molestation.”
According to Jaywant Hargude, assistant commissioner of police (crime branch), “Earlier, women were scared to approach the police fearing societal stigma, but now they have become bold and want their tormentor punished.”