KOLKATA, 2 MAY: The city of joy that was once considered to be the safest city for women has now emerged as one of the places that are the most hostile to women in the country. As if this was not enough, West Bengal tops the list for the country when it comes to human trafficking.
According to the latest data available with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), West Bengal comes second, after Andhra Pradesh, in the number of crimes committed against women. Kolkata stands at the tenth position among the cities that are most hostile to women.
Andhra Pradesh, accounting for nearly 7.1 per cent of the country’s population, accounts for 12.8 per cent of total crimes against women in the country, reporting 27,244 cases in 2010. West Bengal, with 7.6 per cent share of the country’s population, accounted for nearly 12.2 per cent of total crimes against women with 26,125 cases reported in the same year.
The NCRB data reveals another startling fact ~ that the maximum number of minor girls were trafficked in the state. A total 679 cases of trafficking of minor girls were reported in Bengal in the year 2010, as compared to 237 such cases in 2009, representing a 186.5 per cent increase over 2009. An increasing trend was observed in such cases over the previous three years as well.
According to the data, the nature of crime against women most reported in the state was that of domestic abuse ~ torture by husband or in-laws. A total of 17,796 such cases were registered in 2010, followed by 2,764 cases of kidnapping and abduction and 2,311 rape cases. Mr Pallab Kanti Ghosh, joint commissioner of police (crime), said that the number might have shot up with cases of deceit that are counted as rape, for example, rape on false promise of marriage.
Various international travel forums on the Internet feature warnings for women tourists travelling alone in India and Kolkata to carry a pepper spray and avoid crowded public transport where chances of getting groped are higher, to dress appropriately and to avoid being on the streets after sundown.
“I had fought with my parents to go to Kolkata to do my Bachelors in Arts. But with rise in cases of rape, assault and abduction in West Bengal, I am unsure whether it would be safe to stay alone in the city,” said Sagarika Ghosh, a class XII student in Allahabad.
Crime against women
SIR, ~ Soma Basu correctly reports (3 May) a significant rise in the rate of crime against women in Kolkata and large parts of West Bengal. Sexual assault, rape, abduction and trafficking in young women are either committed or attempted with impunity. Sexual harassment and banter at public places and advances are becoming increasingly common.
A woman treasures sanctity of her physique and chastity over any other possession. Rape, the most atrocious of all, destroys them. Yet, as Justice Nadira Pathereya observes, because rape and sexual assault attach social stigma, a prodigious number of them go unreported. Ideally, a woman subjected to such heinous crime should seek retribution rather than conceal such incidents. The fact remains, however, that the victim is inhibited and even compelled by her near relations and people who know her to conceal an outrage. Hence the tendency to suppress such incidents.
yours, etc., sunrit deb, kolkata, 8 may.