Friday 13 September 2013

How safe are women in Bangalore

Well, justice has been delivered at last and the rapists who savaged Nirbhaya in Delhi are to hang. Of course, the convicted are going to appeal first in the High Court and then possibly in the Supreme Court.
While we can be sure of an appeal in the High court as the law mandates that the court which sentenced a person or persons to death must send the reference (death sentence) to the High Court, there is no such rule of  taking the High court verdict to the Supreme Court.
Whatever the result of further appeals, one thing is sure and that is rapists from now on cannot get away with their crimes and a fast track court in Saket in Delhi has shown the way such cases could be decided.
The ruling has come as a warning to the predators who roam around and tease, molest, rape and in several cases kill or murder women. Delhi would now be rejoicing over the verdict but the question is how is Bangalore going to take the verdict.
Bangalore was always known as a city with a low crime rate and the occasional murder decades ago made national headlines such as the murder of Belur Srinivasa Iyengar at his house in Gandhinagar.  
However, despite incidents of crime, Bangalore was always considered a safe city when compared to Delhi, Kolkata, Madras-now Chennai and Mumbai. But no longer. The City, over the last decades has witnessed a horrific rise in the number of crimes against women and this is nothing short of shameful for Bangalore which led India, nay Asia, in the IT revolution and showed the world that it could match the best.
The IT hub of Bangalore has the dubious distinction of being the rape capital of Karnataka and it also figures among the top ten cities in India to have reported maximum number of rapes.
The sudden rise in rape cases in Bangalore has not only flummoxed the police but left the people bewildered. The rise in rape has also been recorded in the data which was recently by the  National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), which brings out reports on crimes in the country.
The NCRB statistics shows that Bangalore is next to Delhi in the crime against women..
The report for 2011 shows that Bangalore has recorded 1,890 instances of crime against women and this accounts for 5.6 per cent  of such crimes in the country. Delhi topped the list with 4,489 cases, which constituted 13.3 per cent of all cases registered in India. Next to Bangalore came Hyderabad with 1,860 cases, forming 5.5 per cent.
During 2010, Bangalore had recorded 1590 cases against women and this had constituted 6.5 per cent of such crimes in the country.
What is more shocking is that the State Crime Record Bureau (SCRB) statistics reveal that in 85 per cent of cases of rape registered in Karnataka during 2012, the perpetrator was known to the victim. It says 621 rape cases were registered and in 526 cases, the rapist was known to the victim.
The same trend is visible in Bangalore. The SCRB data shows that in  56 of 90 rape cases registered during the year, the rapist was known to the victim. And who form this known category- they are  parents, close family members, relatives and neighbours.
Of the 90 cases in Bangalore, two were raped by parents or family members, one by a close relative, 18 by neighbours and 35 victims were raped by friends, friends of their relatives and colleagues.
This alarming situation is not restricted to Bangalore alone. In Mangalore, of the six rape cases, neighbours were guilty in three. In Shimoga district, in all the 14 cases registered, neighbours were the perpetrators.
If we take the nation wide data, the NCRB says 24,923 rape cases were registered last year and 24,470 victims were raped by known persons. In 88 cities, including Bangalore, 3,025 rape cases were registered, and in 2,897 cases, it was known persons who were the culprits.
 It also says Karnataka on an average reports two rapes a day and between January and June this year 457 cases were reported. In the last three years, the total number of rape cases in the State which were reported stood at 2163.
What is absolutely unbelievable is that SCRB records show shows that 471 or 75 per cent of women raped in 2011 were 18-year-olds and 21 of them were below the age of 10.
The SCRB statistics also indicate a rise in other crimes against women such as molestation, sexual harassment , cruelty against women and dowry deaths. And Bangalore tops the list in all these categories
What boggles the mind is that the incidents of rape seem to be increasing every year in Karnataka. It was 509 in 2009 and it went up to 586 cases in 2010 and in 2011 it stood at 636.
What does the statistics indicate. Does it prove that Bangalore is as unsafe to women as Delhi and other places. Sadly, yes. Then what is the answer. Better policing, stricter law enforcement, harsher punishment and greater awareness is the need of the hour. 

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