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New figures show rape, molestation on the rise in MP

The latest figures of the bureau, exclusively available to the Hindustan Times, also show that cases under Section 354 or molestation, have also gone up from 8,700 in 2016 to 9,500 in 2017, a rise of over 9%.

bhopal Updated: Feb 07, 2018 16:44 IST
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Rape,Madhya Pradesh,Molestation
I(AFP/Getty Images)

Madhya Pradesh saw 5,300 rapes in 2017 up from 4,882 recorded in the previous year, registering an increase of nearly 8%, according to a new data by the State Crime Records Bureau.

The latest figures of the bureau, exclusively available to the Hindustan Times, also show that cases under Section 354 or molestation, have also gone up from 8,700 in 2016 to 9,500 in 2017, a rise of over 9%.

If other crimes are included such as those under the subsection of Section 354 like Section 354A (physical contact, asking sexual favours, pornography, sexually coloured remarks), 354B (using force with intent of disrobing a woman), 354C (Voyeurism), 354D (stalking), the number is as high as 13,000 cases, again up from 12,800 recorded last year.

The state government’s initiatives to ensure the safety of women, who comprise around 48% of the state’s 7.5 crore population, have failed to effect a measurable drop in the number of reports of rape and other sex-related crimes. Madhya Pradesh has been among the top state in the country in terms of incidence of rape in the last four years.

The state government has set up a separate Women’s Cell led by an additional director general of police rank official with units in all the 51 districts. Money has been pumped in and according to figures available in 2015-16, the cell received Rs 5.22 crore from the state government.

A Shakti squad for protection of women was introduced by police department last Wednesday and part from the newly-introduced group, the state also boasts of Nirbhaya and Maitri squads and claims to follow the Vishakha guidelines to stop sexual harassment at workplaces.

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan rushed through a bill in the Madhya Pradesh assembly under which rapists of girls 12 years or below would face the death penalty after a 19-year-old IAS aspirant was gangraped near Bhopal’s Habibganj railway station in October last year.

Women’s Cell’s chief Aruna Mohan Rao said the state government and police are sensitive to the women’s complaints and now all of them are being registered as Zero FIR, under which any police station can register the case irrespective of place of the incident or jurisdiction and the same can be later transferred to the appropriate police station.

She added that things will change only if the society changes.

A senior police official, who did not want to be named, said that an internal assessment of the rapes that have taken place showed that majority of the women were assaulted by relatives, friends or someone known to them.

“It is very difficult to stop such incidents,” the officer said.

State Women’s Commission chairperson Lata Wankhede is confident that the rape bill introduced in the state will go a long way in curbing rape and molestation, especially those of minors. However, she also said that crimes against woman cannot be stopped without involvement of the entire society,

“We are planning to hold interactions will all sections of the society in a bid to sensitise them towards respecting women,” she said.

First Published: Feb 07, 2018 16:44 IST