State home minister RR Patil on Thursday supported the demand for capital punishment for rapists in the legislative council.
Admitting there cases of violence against women were increasing in the state and that Maharashtra is sixth on this list nationally, he said that the state government had written to the Centre about making molestation a non-bailable offense.
The home minister informed the house that the state government had constituted women's assistance cells in the state and also counselling centres at police stations.
“Police personnel have been instructed to be more sensitive on issues concerning women. We have also suggested changes in Evidence Act and Indian Penal Code to plug the loopholes,” said Patil.
State women and child development minister Varsha Gaikwad announced that all colleges will now have a woman welfare cell.
The debate was initiated by Congress member Mohan Joshi. He said that Maharashtra witnessed 46,513 crimes against women from 2009 to 2011, including rape, murder and sexual harassment. About 40,516 kids went missing in the same period, the highest in the country.
Legislators also said that a majority of criminals involved in heinous crimes such as rape easily get bail and trials drag on for years.
Women members from across political parties demanded stringent laws to curb crimes against women.