By L.S. Herdenia
BHOPAL: Extraordinary increase in crimes against women in Madhya Pradesh has forced the police to resort to extra-legal measures to ‘terrorise’ the criminals. According to data available on the police website, 85 rape cases were reported from November 2017 to February 2018 in Bhopal alone. Every single day a female is sexually harassed and abducted, while every second day she is being raped in the state capital, as per the interpretation of the data.
The state capital witnessed one of the most brutal gang rapes four months ago, in which a UPSC aspirant was raped by four persons near Habibganj railway station on October 31. The city police and administration launched a special drive in the city and claimed to have made several arrangements for woman safety – right from identifying dark spots to deploying women police personnel in areas prone to crime against women. The senior police officers had also started patrolling and randomly inspecting the police checking points.
Senior police officers, according to sources, were pulled up by home minister Bhupendra Singh and they have again started special drives including patrolling.. Similar practices were seen in the city after the brutal gang rape. Senior officers of police and district administration including district collector Sudam Khade were seen on the streets to chalk out the ‘strategy’ for woman safety. But, data available on the police website shows that all efforts of city police went in vain.
Facing the heat over the sharp upward spiral in sexual assaults on women and minors in the city, police went overboard in a crackdown against history sheeters. A joint team of police and administration razed illegal properties and encroachments across the city. The team also demolished illegal tea stalls and kiosks frequented by anti-social elements who harass girls.
This is being done to send out a message that misbehaviour will not be tolerated and will be dealt with severely, said the police. The drive began from Kolar. Over 50 illegal kiosks were seized by the team during the drive. CSP Habibganj Bhupinder Singh said that they bulldozed a portion of a house built illegally by notorious history sheeter Rajesh Sharma at Gehukhedam Kolar. Sharma, who is on the run, faces several charges including those of crime against women. The joint team also razed illegal houses of two history sheeters in Talaiya. DIG Dharmendra Choudary said action would continue against habitual offenders for encroaching upon public properties.
Choudhary also said the nabbed miscreants would be dealt with sternly adding that all those who were arrested on charges of rape or sexual harassment between January 1, 2016 and March 15 2018 will have to sign a bond with the police. The bond reads that if the person is found committing a crime again within six months he will be arrested and will have to pay fine.
He instructed all the SHOs to prepare lists of such criminals and get them to sign the bond within 10 days. In 2016, 716 cases of crime against women were registered in which 873 accused were arrested. In 2017, 797 cases were registered and 911 accused were arrested. In 2018, 159 cases have been registered and 171 arrested.
But even these extreme measures have failed to deter habitual offenders to commit crime against women. The day after history sheeters were paraded on the streets of Bhopal, three molestation cases were reported from Bilkhiria, Shahjehanabad and Ashoka Garden areas of city. In all the three cases college students were attacked.
An engineering student was arrested for allegedly molesting a 20 year old girl. The accused forced the BCA student to talk to him. When she refused, he grabbed her hand and dragged her, hurled abuses on her and slapped her. He fled when she raised an alarm. Acting on her complaint, Bilkharia police registered a case and arrested the accused. Police also paraded him on the road. (IPA Service)
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