8 gang rapes in 8 months in Mumbai

Written By Unknown on Senin, 02 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Nirbhaya's brutalization in Delhi almost a year ago highlighted the dangers women faced in the national capital. But India's business capital is not safe for women either. The Shakti Mill gang rape case of August was among eight such registered in Mumbai till the middle of that month, an RTI application has shown. The figure for 2013 is likely to be greater: In November alone, two gangrapes—of minors—were reported in Dindoshi and Borivli Link Road. In comparison, eight gangrapes were reported in all of 2012. The numbers in 2011 and 2010 were nine and seven.

Cases of single-offender rape are many times more: 229 were reported in Mumbai this year till mid-August, as per an RTI application. This is already more than the numbers recorded last year (223) and the year before (211).

Experts say more women are speaking out against violence on them and so more cases of gangrape and rape are being reported. "In the aftermath of the Nirbhaya and Shakti Mills cases, there has been a change in mindsets. Shame has shifted. The victim is no longer asked questions like why she went to a particular place and with whom," said Nandita Shah of Akshara, a women's rights organization. "Definitely, there's a lot more reporting of rape, but there has also been an overall increase in violence against women."

It is important to admit and register complaints to address rape cases, said joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy. "The Nirbhaya case was a watershed event, following which social awareness of issues concerning molestation, rape and sexual assault has increased. Newer sections have come up in existing laws, making them more stringent. Newer acts have also been introduced, such as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, which are making a difference."

Shah said that when incidents like gang rape are in the public eye, "there's pressure on investigating agencies and this pressure needs to remain so that there's no way that cognizance of a crime isn't taken".

But women are unsafe in the first place because police presence in the streets has decreased over the years, said activist Anil Galgali, who filed the RTI plea. "Nakabandis by local police personnel used to be conducted often, but their frequency has come down now."

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