Are North East states safe for women?
All these time, we NE people have the views that our NE women are not safe in the cities, but has anyone thought of how safe are our sisters in our own state? In July this year, we posted the reports of crime against women in NE states and it reveals a really shocking statistics.
Reported cases of crimes against women had seen a sharp increase in the Northeast in the past few years. In Assam, cases of crimes against women rose from 13,544 in 2012 to 17,449 in 2013. Tripura, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh were not far behind. In Meghalaya, cases saw a sharp rise of 23.14 percent compared to 2012.
In 2013, 1,937 incidents of rape were reported in Assam; 233 in Tripura; 183 in Meghalaya; 75 in Arunachal Pradesh; 72 in Manipur; 89 in Mizoram; 43 in Sikkim; and 31 in Nagaland.
Tehelka has recently published a report on the sharp increase in crimes against women in the NE states. The following is an excerpt from the article highlighting the major cases of crime against women in NE states
- On 27 September, a tribal woman was raped and murdered in the monastic town of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. The victim was a resident of Jang village, about 30 km southeast of Tawang, and worked as a casual labourer with the Border Roads Organisation, which maintains the roads in the frontier areas of the country. The accused strangled her to death after raping her.
- People in Meghalaya were shellshocked by the horrifying incident of 6 October. But this isn’t a first. On 13 December 2012, an 18-year-old girl was gangraped by 16 men in East Garo Hills. After TEHELKA reported the incident (Gangraped by 16 Men. Yet No Outrage in the Hills, 9 February 2012), the victim’s family was put under pressure to withdraw the case. The victim’s parents were apprehensive about her future and their worst fears came true, revealing the ugly side of the social prejudice in Meghalaya. The victim, who moved to Tura, the main town of Garo Hills, was denied admission by a school and private girls’ hostel. Back home in Williamnagar, people tried to photograph her every time she stepped out of her house.
- On 6 October, the decomposed body of a teenage girl was found in Meghalaya’s East Garo Hills district. The corpse was found naked and beheaded in a densely forested area. The 15-year-old had gone missing 10 days earlier. Policemen investigating the case suspect it to be a case of rape and murder. Interestingly, the prime suspect in the 6 October case is the victim’s stepfather. He was arrested on the basis of an FIR filed by the victim’s mother on 2 October. The mother stated that her husband’s behaviour was suspicious after the girl went missing. In fact, the stepfather had lodged a complaint at a nearby police station on 28 September, after the girl did not return home.
- In the past decade, Meghalaya has seen more than 800 rape cases, 500 of which are still pending in various courts. In fact, there was a six-fold rise in cases of rape registered annually in the state between 2001 (26 cases) and 2010 (149 cases). In a state that boasts of women’s empowerment — where women inherit property and are seen at the forefront of domestic and public life — 830 rape cases between 2002 and 2012 shows that all is not well.
- A few months ago, a minor was raped and murdered in Arunachal. Eight people were arrested in connection with the case. On 29 August, a tribal woman, who was working in a paddy field in Likabali in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, was raped and murdered and her body thrown into a stream.
- Only a fortnight ago, two girls were raped and hung from a tree in Tripura. The state leads the chart with the highest number of pending cases under the crime against women category. The incident took place on 11 September and the story unfolded along expected lines with the cops initially terming it a case of suicide. “The dead bodies were found hanging from the tree like in the Badaun case in UP, but the media never paid attention to the case. Since the media did not report it, the cops initially tried to cover it up, but now it is clear that it was a case of rape and murder,” says Rajeshwar Debbarma, former MLA. Later, three tribal youth from the area were arrested in connection with the case.
“The biggest problem in the Northeast, when it comes to handling crimes against women, is the fact that there is a lack of understanding and subsequent lack of sensitivity within communities. The lack of education and orientation is a barrier. This can only be fought with proper sensitisation. But at times even the media is prejudiced,” explains Partha Prawal Goswami, a journalist from Guwahati who specialises in gender sensitivity.
A survey in Assam last year suggested that 70 percent of women in Guwahati feel unsafe due to the lack of effective and visible policing in the city. The survey also found that over 56 percent women in Guwahati have experienced some form of sexual harassment.
Read the full article here http://www.tehelka.com/northeast-women-are-soft-targets-here/