As Capital rape graph keeps rising, most victims are targets of men known to them

Delhi witnessed a heart-wrenching incident on October 19, 2021 when a 22-year-old woman was stabbed seven times by a man just near her house, raising questions over the safety of the women in the national capital.

What was more unfortunate was the man who killed the woman was her friend.

Profusely bleeding due to the stab wounds, the woman was rushed to a nearby hospital where she was declared brought dead. She died because of excessive blood loss.

The incident is one of the many gruesome crimes that happen on almost every day in the national capital. It is not just the strangers who harm the women, there is a whopping number of cases of cruelty by husbands or in-laws.

Recently, the residents bore witness to another brutal act of assault and gangrape at Kasturba Nagar area of the Shahdara district in the national capital.

The incident, that sent chills down the spine of the people, occurred on January 26 when the victim woman was allegedly attacked by a group of people, including women, who chopped off her hair, tore her clothes, blackened her face, and then paraded her on the streets wearing a garland of slippers. For the heinous crime 20 people have been so far arrested including 4 minors.

Source privy to the investigation had conveyed to the IANS that the victim woman, a mother of a two-year-old child, used to live in the same locality till she got married a few years ago and then moved to some other area. A man who used to live in her neighbourhood and was in a one-sided love with her. She had spurned his advances many times, however, they were turned down by the victim woman.

Last year the same man had allegedly committed suicide by jumping in front of a train. His family blamed the victim woman for their son’s death and wanted revenge. Those who have been arrested include all the family members of the deceased boy that already knew the woman as she used to live in the same locality.

According to the data compiled by the Delhi Police, during the year 2021, as many as 1969 women were raped in the national capital, 21.69 per cent more than the previous year. In 2020, the figure stood at 1618.

Not just rape, every figure of crime against women has an upward variation. The molestation of women rose by 17.51 per cent and eve-teasing by 17.51 per cent. However, the Delhi Police termed the rise in figures of crime as “due to conscious policy of Fair and Truthful Registration”.

Special Commissioner of Police, Devesh Chandra Srivastava says that every police station now registers criminal cases in all complaints disclosing cognizable offence with an objective that no crime, especially crime against women and children, goes unreported.

“Maximum attention is paid to solve the incidents of rape and other crimes against women. In such cases, about 60 per cent of the accused are arrested within the first week,” the Special CP said in the annual report of the Delhi Police.

It won’t be wrong to say that the proactive initiatives and fair registration have contributed towards more robust reporting of crime against women.

Pertinent to mention here that the percentage of worked out cases increases with the passage of time, as absconding accused are also arrested.

To prevent heinous crimes taking place, the measures adopted by Delhi Police include night patrolling, mobile women police team, presence of women in PCR vans and deployment of women cops around girls colleges and schools etc.

“Informing the Civic or government agencies about dark patches in the city and directing Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs) to ensure safety of lady employees while they are commuting to and from their work places to their homes, also help in curbing crimes,” said the Special C.P. Srivastava.

But even as stringent laws are in place coupled with proactive approach of Delhi Police and a high solving rate of rape cases (95.48 per cent), molestation of women cases (90.98 per cent) and insult to modesty of women (85.75 per cent), the crime against women is not declining.

One of the surprising reasons is that most of the time, the person committing a heinous crime is known to the victim woman.

Shockingly, during the year 2021, in aboutt 98.78 per cent of rape cases, the accused were known to the victim while strangers were involved in only about 1.22 per cent cases.

According to the Delhi Police, of all the rape cases reported last year, 13 per cent times the accused was a relative of the victim, 11 per cent times a neighbour, 46 per cent times a family or a friend and 1 per cent time an employee or a co-worker.

Notably, the investigation of sexual abuse cases is being monitored by the Ministry of Home Affairs through Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO). It allows real-time monitoring and management of sexual offences to complete investigation in the prescribed time limits.

Amongst all states, Delhi stands at fifth position followed by Andaman and Nicobar, Goa, Gujarat and Uttarakhand. The Capital cops say that emphasis is on to complete the investigation of every case of sexual assault, within two months.

With even after 10 years of the brutal gangrape of Nirbhaya and no decline in rape cases, the time has come that the concept of ‘gender sensittization’ is taken seriously!

(Ujwal Jalali can be reached at ujwal.j@ians.in)

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