Crime against women - whether rape, dowry death, cruelty by husbands or sexual harassment - is on the rise, particularly in the national capital, the National Commission for Women (NCW) chief said in New Delhi Friday.
Launching a nationwide programme "Chalo Gaon Ki Ore" (return to villages) to create awareness about the rights of women in villages, NCW chairperson Girija Vyas said statistics from 2001 and 2003 showed there had been no let up in crimes against women.
Of the 140,601 reported cases of crimes against women in 2003, including trafficking, dowry deaths and rape, as many as 2,171 cases were in Delhi. This marked a sharp rise from 229 cases in 2001, she pointed out.
Against 16,075 cases of rape across the country in 2001, there were 15,847 cases in 2003. In Delhi alone, there were 490 cases.
Similarly, in the case of cruelty by husband or relatives, the number remained over 3,000, while molestation cases hovered over 32,000, including 489 in Delhi.
"Taking note of the alarming rise in crimes against women, we have trained about 3,000 school students and young girls in self-defence in the capital. We plan to have them train more girls in the martial arts," said Vyas.
"It is not just strangers who are proving a threat to women but also relatives and neighbours."
In 2004-05, at least 14 rape cases involved women who had been assaulted by their fathers.
Last year, Delhi witnessed 381 rapes in which the victims knew their attackers. In 350 cases, women were sexually abused by neighbours, in five cases by stepbrothers, in a dozen cases by uncles, six each by cousins and fathers-in-law and one each by a relative and ex-husband.
"It is not just women and girls who are falling victims of various crimes but as statistics about female foeticide indicate, over five percent of the female population is missing," said Vyas.
"Despite legislation to protect the rights of women, there is no let down in crimes against women."
Vyas revealed that in the central government's budget to be presented later this month, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram will assure a follow-up on the gender dimension presented last year by "bringing all ministries with gender focus under gender budgeting".
As part of the NCW programme for empowering women and creating awareness about their problems, a three-day mission is to be launched Feb 12 that will cover Punjab, Haryana and Delhi in the first phase.