While Navi Mumbai police claim to have reduced crime rates in the satellite city in the last one year, the statistics of crime against women tells a different story.
As per the records with the city crime branch, crimes against women have gone up by 66% in the first seven months of 2013.
As many as 40 rape cases were registered till July-end this year as opposed to 23 cases in the same period last year. While the police have solved 39 out of 40 cases this year, they have solved all the rape cases last year.
A total of 81 molestation cases have been registered this year as against 37 in 2012.
The police have detected all the cases reported in the current year, barring one registered in 2012.
Complaints of harassment by husband and relatives too have gone up this year.
A total of 85 harassment cases (under section 498A of Indian Penal Code) were registered in the first seven months of 2013 against 64 cases last year.
Deputy commissioner of police Shrikant Pathak elaborated the reasons behind the increase of crimes against women in the city. “Such crimes had gone unreported in the previous years as women were hesitant to approach the police. The Nirbhaya case, which jolted the entire county in December last year, created awareness among women. Now, they are not hesitant to come to police stations and register a case,” said Pathak.
He added that many molestation cases were not reported earlier as the victims felt shy to tell their kin. “Even their parents hesitated to register such cases, fearing it would create a problem in marriage. However, the scenario is changing gradually,” he said.
There is another reason behind the increase in registration of rape cases in 2013, said the police. “In most rape cases registered this year, the victims had been in a relationship with the accused. The accused promised to marry them and had a physical relationship with them. When the accused failed to keep the promise, rape cases were registered,” said Suresh Pawar, assistant commissioner of police (crime).
“These were not rape but consensual sex. We had to arrest the accused and book them under the relevant sections of Indian Penal Code. But the conviction rates are minimal in such cases,” he added.
In spite of the increase in crimes, the police claim that women are still safe in the city.
“You can see women roaming on the streets even at 11pm.
No one dares to pass a lewd comment to a woman at any public places in Navi Mumbai. Women are much safer in the satellite city than Greater Mumbai or any metro city of India,” a senior police officer said.
Pathak added that friends, relatives or close acquaintances of the victims turned out to be the culprits in many rape and molestation cases. “This year, around 45% of the women were raped either by their relatives or by some acquaintances. So the women should be alert not only outside but in their own houses as well,” he added.