New Delhi: The new year has began on an ominous note, with the country being witness to another series of shocking assaults on women, clearly demonstrating that ground realities have remained largely unchanged.
The proportion of crime against women has increased, from 7.4 per cent of the total in 2002 to 8.2 per cent during 2006, with the capital leading in crime.
Among other crimes, 2007 saw the rape and murder of call centre employees in Pune and Bangalore, besides the alleged rape of a woman doctor in Delhi, in September.
Another incident was the alleged molestation of girls by men who had, ironically, appeared for a police recruitment exam.
India reported 34,175 molestation cases in 2005. The number increased to 36,617 in 2006.
But it's not just Indians who have been targeted by their countrymen. Many tourists, too, have fallen prey to crimes committed by Indians.
In the summer of 2006, a German student was allegedly raped by the son of an Orissa police official, in Rajasthan. Recently, a Finnish woman was raped by an unidentified man in Mumbai. Two Japanese women were allegedly gang-raped in Agra. And New Year’s Eve saw the incident of a teenaged Swedish being groped in Kochi, while she and her father were being interviewed by a local TV channel.
But as far as sexual crimes go, there may be no worse than the horror of Nithari in Noida, where, from a drain the remains of 19 women and children were dug out. They had been allegedly abused and later murdered by Moninder Singh Pandher and his servant between 2004 and 2006. (That the case is still unsolved and the mystery still unclear is another story altogether.)
One estimate says a woman is raped every 32 minutes, murdered every 22 minutes, and molested every 15 minutes in India.
In a country where women's empowerment is a favourite slogan, women's safety is clearly badly compromised.
Percentage of IPC crimes against women
Highest crime rate in Delhi
Crimes against children, 2006