A year has passed since the horrific gang-rape incident in New Delhi that aroused the consciousness of the nation. However, the scenario of crimes against women in Pune is staggering.
Statistics available with the Pune police shows that cases of crimes against women including rape cases have nearly doubled.
However, the top brass of Pune police have claimed that number of cases registered with the police have increased because of ‘awareness’ among people and amendment in the laws.
Rise in numbers a +ve sign?
Top brass police officers of Pune police claimed that the high numbers should be taken positively as it reflects better policing and awareness which has prompted women to come forward to file complaints.
Asked on the increase in the number of cases, Pune police commissioner Gulabrao Pol said, “The number is increasing due to awareness. Earlier, victims would bear the torture but now they are coming ahead and reporting these cases. The helpline for women is receiving an average of 45 calls daily pertaining to violence against women. We have specifically asked police stations to handle such cases in a serious manner.” Smita Jadhav, inspector incharge of women’s grievance redressal cell, claimed that increased cases are not because of the the increase in the number of crimes but merely greater reporting of crimes.
“Now women are coming forward and addressing their grievances to us on our helpline number. However, the number of cases registered paint a different story,” she said.
Safety measures galore, but are they helping?
Even though crimes against women have doubled in the city, the Pune police have claimed that they have taken ‘adequate’ measures to curb such crimes.
While special eve-teasing squads and a women’s helpline was in place much earlier, the revised focus of Pune police is mainly to teach self-defence to the women in the city.
The Pune police had also given marshal arts training to women constables at the Pune police headquarters. Thereafter, the trained women constables were asked to impart training to the college students in the city.
As specific amendments were made to women specific laws, the Pune police prepared a booklet of these amendments and circulated it in all police stations.
After the gang-rape incident in Delhi, the top brass police officers of Pune police had asked all police station in-charges to learn the amended laws effectively while registering such cases in the city to make the cases more stronger.
Smita Jadhav, inspector in-charge of Women Grievance Redressal Cell said, “We have been taking meetings at police stations where we give self-defence training. Moreover, we are also telling how to tackle with chain-snatchers. We are focusing to create awareness.”
According to Jadhav, after the amendment in the laws, more women are coming forward and registering case with the police. “There’s less hesitation among women.”
Workshops in schools
Jadhav added, “We have several interactive sessions with employees in IT companies. We also organise awareness programmes on ‘good touch-bad touch’ in schools and colleges. There is more patrolling on the campus and we are working with students’ groups as well.”
Besides complaint boxes have been put up in various schools and colleges for a direct interaction with the police, maintaining anonymity.
Investigations by women police officers only
The police stations were directed that investigation of all women-related cases should be done by lady officer only. The move was intended to make the victims feel comfortable and thus discuss the case. This also was to encourage more women to come forward and lodge complaints.
After 2 years of torture, girl reports about stalker
Fearing that her parents might pull her out of school, a minor girl kept mum about the mental torture inflicted on her by her 20-year-old stalker for nearly two years. Emboldened by her silence, her stalker started visiting her locality and started making obscene gestures, which finally forced her to tell her parents and lodge a police complaint.
The two years of torture finally came to an end after the Mundhawa police laid a trap for the stalker and nabbed him while he was following the HSC student in a bus. The youth has been identified as Aakash Radheshyam Thakur (20), living in Mundhwa’s Sarvodaya Colony.
The victim’s father had lodged the complaint with the Mundhwa police. Thakur has been arrested under the relevant sections of Indian Penal Code of stalking and also under sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act. Sub-inspector VS Chavan, who is investigating the case, said, “The victim is a class XII student. From the past two years, the youth had been stalking her. If she ignored him, he would get off the bus and tease her on streets trying to catch her attention. For two years, the victim remained silent as she feared her parents would pull her out of school. But when he started coming near her locality and house, she gave up and informed her brother. “Her brother warned Aakash not to follow her, on which Aakash threatened to kill the victim if they did not let him marry her.”
“The victim’s family then approached us and we laid a trap near the bus stop from where she usually travels. We caught Aakash at Pune station bus stop. He is an external student of the University of Pune, pursuing a degree in commerce,” Chavan said.