As the year 2014 come to an end and we step into the New Year with fresh hopes, trepidations and fears you will be shocked to know that Delhi Police is grappling with an unexpected phenomenon-false rape cases.
And this information comes from the horse’s mouth. At a recent programme organized by the NGO Prayas to honour the memory of Nirbhaya titled “After 26/11- the Road Ahead” the DCP South-East M S Randhawa declared that much against the popular perception there was no compulsion for zero FIRs in Delhi Police and as such all complaints, especially related to sexual violence, were being registered by police stations.
However the problem, he stated, was that “we get at least 60 per cent cases which are false and motivated but we have to register them and sometimes we feel that because of such cases we are not able to work on the genuine cases as much as we would like.”
This was not an off the cuff or off the record statement that can be dismissed as gossip. This was stated in a conference organized by Prayas which was the first to set up Rape Crisis Intervention Centers (CICs) in the country. Among those who were present in this programme were Barkha Shukla Singh, Chairperson of Delhi Commission of Women, senior Delhi Police officers and councellors of 11 District CICs of Delhi who play a vigilant role in such cases and some NGOs.
They were unanimous in their opinion that the response system of Delhi Police to complaints of sexual violence had become far more sensitive in the last two years. But at the same time they also agreed with Randhawa that much of their time was wasted in chasing wrong cases.
Some social workers complained bitterly that many times they have to reach Police Stations in the dead of night in such cases only to find that either the woman is intoxicated or both the husband and wife are drunk and they are taking their personal fight to ludicrous levels by lodging motivated cases at the Police stations.
While the senior police officers and NGOs grumbled that they were caught in a tricky situation because there were no clear guidelines about live-in relationships, other NGOs stated that this issue should not be trivialized. They called for clearer guidelines but also insisted that each case whether fake or real should be registered and this should not become an excuse for not registering such cases.
Amod Kanth, General Secretary of Prayas who had played a vital role in giving his inputs to the Justice Verma Commission set up in the wake of the Nirbhaya episode in 2013, stated that rape cases were very complicated because there were many stake-holders involved including the prosecutor,lawyer, doctor and of course the victim. He called for an integrated project of all the departments along with the CICs to deal with rape cases.
Barkha Singh, Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women said that such incidents were a blot on any society and they will not be tolerated anymore as women have started coming forward to report theseas is evident from the increase in the number of such cases. She called for a joint effort by all sections of the Government, Delhi Police and Department of Social Welfare to deal with this crisis.
Varsha Sharma, DCP Women and Child Unit of Delhi Police said that any new incident of sexual assault shakes up the entire police force as “we have to deal with another sensitive issue”. However, the ray of hope is that there is a huge response to the training camps being organized by their Cell to provide self-defense training to girls in colleges and schools.
Dr. Kiran Aggarwal, President designate of Indian Association of Paedetricians, who was in close touch with the parents of Nirbhaya from the day the incident happened dropped a bomb-shell by stating while everyone is talking about sexual violence against women her own experience had shown that minor boys were also being sexually assaulted in a big way but they do not realize its consequences till they become adults. The number of such cases are frighteningly high- their number is actually much more than those of rape cases against women, she stated.
Mrs. Asha, the mother of Nirbhaya, suggested that NGOs should be active in areas where such incidents are more common to assure the parents of victims that they are safe. Most of the time the victim and the accused live in the same area, she said.
By: Amitabh Srivastava