Despite stringent laws and stepped-up policing, crimes against women have seen a significant increase in Kullu district. Contrary to common perceptions about the state, women do not appear to be safe here as is evident by the rising number of murders, rapes, abduction, assault and other heinous crimes, raising serious concerns.
In 2014 the police filed 16 rape, two murder, 17 abduction and 28 molestation cases in the district, while in the previous year 29 rape 20 abduction and 44 molestation cases were registered, which reveals the insensitivity of society toward women, where they still feel insecure despite having equal rights.
Dr Hema Sharma, a clinical psychologist at the Kullu regional hospital, said after major incidents like rape victims suffer a deep psychological trauma besides physical pain, and family members can play an important role to help her cope.
"Society has the responsibility to accept a female victim of a serious crime as any other people rather than socially stigmatize her, because the accident may happen with anybody. During such a difficult time the support of family and society is must for the victim to bring her out of her trauma rather hold her guilty for the incident," she added.
Dhaneshwari Thakur, who earlier headed the Himachal Pradesh women's commission, said: "there is more need to sensitize our society toward women's safety because perhaps we failed to uphold our cultural values in which women are respected. During my tenure as chairperson of the panel I observed female crime victims get discrimination in the society, sometimes shun by the family rather to have a support from the family and society in that tough time, which leads suicidal cases among victim. Long pendency of cases in courts and rude behavior of police authorities also hurt the victim. As such, there is more need to sensitize people to provide safe and protected environment for women," she added.
Meanwhile, assistant superintendent of police Nihal Chand said: "The police department organizes camps and delivers lectures on women's safety and makes them aware about their rights at the grassroots level from time to time. We're doing our best to ensure women feel secure in the district."