July 14, 2011

Hindustan Times

89 cases of rape, molestation in 180 days in Mumbai

The city saw 89 cases of rape and molestation registered with the police in 180 days (between November 2010 and April 2011). The situation is worse across Maharashtra, with four rape and molestation cases being registered every day. The latest data accessed by Hindustan Times from the state home department shows that Mumbai has seen a 15% increase in the number of rape and molestation cases in the past six months, compared to 77 from May to October 2010.

“It is certainly a matter of concern if the data is revealing this. We will immediately look into the issue and see what can be done,” Umeshchandra Sarangi, additional chief secretary (home) told HT.

At 166, Mumbai has the highest number of cases registered among the nine cities in the state in the past one year (May 2010 to April 2011). The nine cities include Navi Mumbai and Thane.

There were 755 cases registered across the state from November 2010 to April 2011, a rise from the 739 cases registered in the previous six months.

“These figures are just the tip of the iceberg. Few cases of rape get registered, and even fewer reach the conviction stage. The start is to get the police to register rape cases,” said Neelam Gorhe, Shiv Sena legislator and women’s rights activist.

Just two weeks ago, the Bombay high court pulled up the railway police for the rising number of offences against women, following an HT report published in the June 21 edition about the molestation of a Nerul resident in a moving train.
The court recommended to the state that it make molestation a non-bailable offence. Sarangi said the government is now considering an amendment to section 354 of the Indian Penal Code, to convert molestation into a non-bailable offence and to make the sentence harsher. “We will ensure a higher conviction rate for rape cases,” he said.

Currently, the punishment for molestation is two years’ imprisonment, while for rape it can be ten years’ imprisonment or a life sentence and/or fine.
The rural areas of Maharashtra are divided into seven police district ranges, and the Nagpur range is the worst, with 111 cases registered during the six-month period ending this April. It is followed by the Kolhapur range, home minister RR Patil’s backyard, which saw 98 cases.

Known as the rape capital, Delhi saw 258 cases of rapes and molestations registered in six months, from January 1 to June 30.

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