The gangrape of a 22-year-old photo journalist at Mahalaxmi on Thursday and the assault on an American national in a suburban train earlier this week has raised serious questions about the safety of women in the country’s financial capital, a concern backed by statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
At least 45 women in the state were targetted every day in the last year, NCRB figures reveal, and Maharashtra accounted for 6.69% of the total crimes against women reported in the country.
According to the NCRB, in all, 16,353 cognisable crimes against women were registered in the state last year under the IPC, taking Maharashtra to the number six in the list of states with the highest number of such crimes. West Bengal had the highest number of cases, at 30,942.
While the police attribute this to increased awareness, experts said the figures suggest the failure of law enforcement agencies.
“The 22-year-old’s gangrape cannot establish that Mumbai is unsafe for women. In the past few months, we have taken several measures to ensure women feel safe. Policemen have been sensitised, more awareness has been created and hence more and more women are coming forward to report crimes against them,” said city police chief Satyapal Singh.
IPS officer-turned-lawyer YP Singh said that although the police have done a good job by arrested one accused within hours of the photojournalist’s gangrape on Thursday’s case, they have failed in preventing such crimes. “At such secluded spots [like the scene of Thursday’s incident], the police can use the powers given to them under the CrPC,” he said.