MYSURU: At a time when the gangrape of a college student at the Chamundi foothills in Mysuru is sparking widespread uproar, disturbing data has come to the fore: nearly 1,168 rape cases have been reported across various police station limits in Karnataka, from January 2019 to May 2021. An average of at least one rape a day. What is more disturbing is that 22 were gang-rapes.
Statistics from the Karnataka State Police, available with The New Indian Express, show that 18 women were raped and murdered in this time period, and that crimes against women are increasing by the year.
After the Nirbhaya case — the brutal gang-rape of a girl in a moving bus in Delhi in December 2012 — it was expected that new laws and stringent punishment for the rapists would put an end to such horrendous crimes. But data from Karnataka over just 2.5 years exposes the grim reality of inhuman sexual crimes against women.
Though guidelines and frameworks are in place to enhance the safety and security of women, such cases continue to be reported from all corners of the state, proving that women are still vulnerable to sexual crimes.
In 2019, 10,227 cases of crimes against women were reported, included molestation, abduction, dowry, pornography and other offences, with the number increasing to 10,761 cases in 2020. In 2021, till May-end, 4,401 crimes against women were reported.
Close observation of data reveals that while cases like dacoity and theft have come down after the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown, crimes against women have not. Over 400 rape cases were reported even during the pandemic and lockdown in the state.
Experts point to a deep-seated patriarchy in society as the main reason for gender-based crimes, giving women second-class status in the country. However, when asked if there was failure of law and order in Karnataka, Pramila Naidu, Chairperson of Karnataka State Commission for Women, categorically denied it, saying the state police were doing a good job and she had seen them working on such cases ever since she assumed charge as chairperson. However, she said she would send a report to Home Minister Araga Jnanendra to increase police patrolling and install CCTV cameras across the state.