Stirred into action by the Delhi gangrape, the victim’s death, and the outrage across the country, the state government has now decided to publicly shame offenders by publicising a database of rape convicts, along with their photographs.
A similar measure was recently proposed by the Union home ministry.
State home department figures show that the conviction rate in rape cases is an abysmal 9.6%. Also, in 90% of the total rape cases in the state, the rapist is known to the victim and is a serial offender. By publicising such a database, the state home department hopes to not only shame the victim but also alert others.
“We have decided to identify rape offenders who have been convicted, make a database with their photographs, names, addresses and whereabouts. This blacklist will be constantly updated and widely publicised on the police and home department websites, as well as police stations. This will also help women to become more alert,” said Satej Patil, minister of state for home. This, he said, is one of the several measures to keep an eye on habitual offenders and deter such crimes.
In the wake of the December 16 shocking incident in New Delhi — in which a 23-year-old woman was gangraped and fatally assaulted, along with her male friend — the police, state government and other authorities are identifying measures to increase safety of women.
Demands are also pouring in to make rape laws more stringent. Currently, rape is a bailable offence and does not invite death penalty except in extremely rare cases. Moreover, convicts often go scot free after serving their prison terms and there is no follow-up action or monitoring.
After the Delhi gangrape, the union home ministry requested the National Crime Records Bureau to prepare a database of all rape convicts in the country with their details, to publish on its website.
On January 4, Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde will hold a special meeting with Director Generals of Police and chief secretaries of all states, including Maharashtra, to take stock of security and safety in each state. Shinde is expected to bring up the database plan in this meeting.