Crime against women rises alarmingly in Assam

July 15th, 2008 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, July 15 (IANS) The Assam government Tuesday admitted that the number of dowry cases in the state have trebled in the past six years, while that of rape has nearly doubled, causing concern in the society traditionally known for respecting women. “We are seized of the disturbing statistics and have taken steps to reduce crime against women by setting up all-women police stations, besides opening a female counselling centre at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters here,” state government spokesman Rockybul Hussain, who is the forest minister, said Tuesday.

The crime figures were tabled in the ongoing session of the state assembly.

The number of dowry cases has risen from 1,307 in 2001 to 3,063 in 2007; 990 cases have been registered with the police between January and May this year.

Similarly, cases of rape have risen from 785 in 2001 to 1,311 in 2007.

Between January and May this year, 505 cases of rape have been registered with the police.

Observers have expressed shock over the rising crime graph against women because the society in Assam, or the whole of the northeast for that matter, is known to hold women in high esteem.

“The civil society needs to be more proactive to combat crime against women. This is particularly necessary because Assam is already ravaged by insurgency,” said Anita Sharma, a schoolteacher.

Authorities, however, say the statistics go to demonstrate the rising level of awareness among women in the state who now come forward to register complaints instead of putting up with their tormentors as in the past.

“More and more women from across Assam are now coming forward to register complaints with the police or report crime against them. This is due to some steps we have taken like setting up all-women police stations and sensitizing the police force,” Hussain said.

So far this year, 85 women have been murdered in Assam, and 429 cases of molestation have been registered, according to figures that observers describe as “disturbing”.

“This is a social problem and it cannot be tackled simply by setting up a few all-women police stations. The government must undertake a massive awareness campaign by involving the civil society,” said Topon Lal Baruah, president of the Guwahati-based Centre for Development and Peace Studies.

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