In Navi Mumbai, sexual crimes against women increased by 18% in 2014, said sources in the city crime branch.
According to the sources, around 88 rape cases were registered in the city in 2014 as opposed to 69 cases in 2013 – a rise of nearly 28%. The police detected 86 and 67 cases in 2014 and 2013 respectively. Likewise, molestation cases witnessed a rise of 13%. The police registered 156 molestation cases in 2014 as against 138 cases in 2013. While they detected 155 cases last year, two cases registered in the previous year are yet to be solved.
“Many cases of such crimes went unreported in the previous years, as women were hesitant to approach the police. Even their families felt it would have a damaging impact on their social status if they registered a molestation case with us,” said Shahaji Umap, deputy commissioner of police (zone I).
“With increased awareness, the scenario is changing now. Women don’t hesitate to approach the police and register a rape or molestation case,” said Umap.
Suresh Mengde, deputy commissioner of police (crime), said, “In most of the rape cases registered in 2014, the suspects and victims were in a relationship. The suspects established a physical relationship with the victims promising marriage and later changed their stance following which the victims registered rape cases against them. So, while these were cases of consensual sex, we have had to arrest the suspects and book them under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.”
Another worrying factor is that several women were either raped or molested by their relatives or family members in the past year. In some cases, fathers have raped their minor daughters. “The police are often held responsible when the crime rates go up. But what can we do when a woman is raped by her family member inside her house?” said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.
According to the police officer, “Women should learn the basic self-defence techniques to protect themselves. They should carry chilli powder, safety pins and pepper sprays in their bags.”
Abetment in suicide has also seen an upward swing. As many 39 women ended their lives following harassment by their husbands or in-laws in 2014. The number of such cases registered in the previous year was 34. The city police claims to have detected all such cases.
“In many cases, the parents and sisters of the bridegroom start torturing the woman, if they are not satisfied with the dowry. The woman finally takes the drastic step as she is not able to tolerate the physical and mental torture,” said another police officer.