Mumbai has witnessed a drastic decline in the cases of cruelty against married women in the past three months. While the police attribute this to the heavy police presence on the streets during the lockdown, some women activists claim that women are suffering torture silently as they try to avoid escalation due to the fears of Covid-19.
According to the statistics, the cases lodged under the section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) have come down by at least 88% when compared to that of the last year. The section prescribes punishment for husband or his relatives for subjecting wife to cruelty.
As per the statistics, 22 odd cases under section 498 A we're registered in the city in last three months when the city was under the lockdown. Under the section, 12 cases were registered in June while four and six cases were registered in April and May respectively.
Last year, the total number of cases of IPC 498 A in these three months were 185 with 74 cases registered in June while 49 and 62 cases were registered in May and April respectively.
"While the cases of cruelty to a married woman by husband or his relatives have reduced, the possibility of women not coming forward due to fear of Covid-19 infections cannot be ruled out," said senior advocate Abha Singh.
There is also a possibility that due to the lockdown, husbands are also locked in their home leaving the woman with no options, she added.
The overall crime rate has also seen a sharp fall in the last three months. During this period, overall crime rate in Mumbai has declined to almost 73% when compared to that of last year.
"People are aware that we deal with woman's issue on priority basis, we have a dedicated helpline and a help desk for woman at every police station which has certainly helped.
“The heavy police presence on the streets amidst the lockdown has also played a major role in the declining overall crime rate," said Mumbai Police spokesperson DCP Shahaji Umap.