Mumbai: This year saw an alarming number of increase in the number of incidents were women and children were made the victims of various crimes. A massive spurt of 22 per cent was recorded in rape cases and 51 per cent in sexual assaults from 2014 to 2019, revealed data procured from Mumbai Police. Moreover, of the reported cases, 69 per cent victims were below the age of 18 years.
Mumbai comes off as an unsafe city, especially for women and children, amid the disturbing picture painted regarding their safety and security. This year, a whopping 6,030 cases were registered in connection to crime against women and children, out of which over 2,400 cases were pertaining to sexual assault and kidnapping of minor girls.
An activist and founder of Praja Foundation, Nitai Mehta said, "The jump in number of rape and sexual assault cases could be a result if more women coming forward to report the crime. In a report published by our foundation, it stated that in 90 per cent of Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) cases, offenders were known to the victims."
The number of cases registered under the POCSO Act has substantially increased from 891 in 2015-16 to 2,400 this year, which includes cases of penetrative sexual assault, sexual assault and sexual harassment, against male and female children below 18 years of age are included in the POCSO Act. Among the reasons given for such a rise, a senior police official attributed it to the increased social awareness on the issue.
After formulation of the Act in 2012, the city has seen a year-on-year increase in the number of POCSO cases registered. The spurt is especially due to children confiding in their parents after receiving ground-level training from police trainers under the "Police Didi" initiative.
Mumbai Police spokesperson, deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Pranaya Ashok, said that the increase in number of cases reported states that the law enforcement and awareness programmes like Police Didi are working their magic. Child psychologist, Dr Devika Bhaskar said, "Be it an adult or a child, a victim of sexual abuse is left with scars of trauma for the longest of time, which needs tender care and attention. Speaking about the drive why men feel the urge or desire to force themselves on the opposite sex could be a result of many factors, unknown to many."
Minor flings 3-yr-old off building
On September 7, a 43-year-old man, Anil Chugani, flung his childhood friend’s three-year-old daughter from the seventh floor window of Chugani’s flat in Colaba under the influence of black magic. That evening, he allegedly lured three-year-old Shanaya to his bedroom while the other two children were with their parents. While Shanaya landed on the bonnet of a car, she was declared dead on arrival when rushed to a hospital.
Mahim Suitcase Murder
Crime branch police arrested three youths in connection to the sensational murder case of a man, whose body was found mutilated in a suitcase at Mahim beach in the first week of December. While police identified the deceased as a musician, Bennett Rebello, 59, the probe revealed, Bennett's 17-year-old adoptive daughter had killed him with the help of her 16-year-old paramour and his friend as the deceased allegedly sexually assaulted her and disapproved her romantic relationship. The trio was booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for murder and causing disappearance of evidence.
Child trafficking racket busted
The Mumbai Police crime branch unit six busted a gang of four women for selling two baby boys on the pretext of adoption in July. The officials rescued the babies and arrested two parents for purchasing them. Later, police learnt the gang had spread its tentacles across various states and arrested four more accused.