Even as social activists believe that only 10% of the crimes against women are reported to police, such crimes have actually doubled in the Royal City of Patiala, which otherwise is also considered as education hub.
A close survey of data bring to fore that the cases under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (outraging modesty of women) have increased by four times as compared to the last year whereas the cases of rape and attempt to rape have also increased substantially.
Feminist Dr Harshinder Kaur said: "The thing which disturbs me the most is even after increase in literacy level, the crime against women, especially stalking and eve-teasing, has increased in the cities. Due to lack of support, social stigma and even lengthy legal process, most of the girls do not report the matter to police. Only hardcore criminal activities like rape, abduction, dowry deaths are reported, whereas eve-teasing and stalking are the bigger problem.
"If we wish to end the hardcore crime against women, society as a whole should come forward to end eve-teasing and stalking first, as if we nip it in the bud no one will dare to take criminal route."
However, disagreeing with Dr Harshinder Kaur, Patiala senior superintendent of police (SSP) Hardial Singh Mann differs said: "More cases are reported now because police have been extending their helping hands to women to come forward and lodge their complaints."
"We have setup a women desk in every police station, where only woman police officer listens to women victim's grievances,. This imitative has earned a positive result with women are turning up to police in big numbers to voice their grievances."
"Don't go by the crime registration record, but check the impact of our drive against the anti-social elements owing to which the women in the city have started feeling safe. Moreover, we have put most of the chain snatchers and drug addicts - who were mostly indulge in stalking and eve-teasing - behind the bars," said the SSP, adding that as a result of our efforts to make women feel free to report crimes against them to us has increased the numbers of reported crime, but on the ground the crime against women has been contained substantially."
In fact, women squads formed by the SSP to patrol near schools/colleges in morning and afternoon hours have checked the eve-teasing to an extent.
Much is required to be done, as eve-teasers are still roaming freely. Though, they have changed their area of activity - instead of standing outside schools/colleges, now they are roaming around tuition centres," said a girl requesting anonymity. She added that every girl had been facing this problem nowadays.
However, the SSP said that he had sought feedback, and whatever was needed would be done to provide safe environment to women.
2012 2013 (till Oct 31)
Outraging modestly 18 74
Rape 44 45
Attempt to rape - 8
Sexual harassment 0 1
Abduction (mostly eloping) 29 53
Dowry harassment 66 122
Dowry deaths 5 10