India's crime record bureau's data show Delhi recorded one of the highest number of rape cases in the country.
As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data of 2015, Delhi recorded 2,199 cases of rape, 92 cases of gangrape, and 927 cases under the child sexual abuse law -- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
But if one looks at the 2016 numbers, there seems to be a significant drop in crime cases against women.
As per the Delhi Police data, in the first six months of 2016, accessed by DNA, there were 473 cases of rape, 18 cases of gangrapes, and 572 cases registered under the POCSO Act.
There are also 709 cases of rapes under the ‘others’ category, which includes cases registered under Section 377 (intercourse against order of nature), custodial rapes, etc.
These figures show the highest incidences from Outer Delhi. While there were 99 rape cases, there were three gangrape cases and 136 cases under the POCSO Act.
With four rapes, no gangrape cases and two cases under POCSO Act, New Delhi recorded the least number of violent incidents against women.
That is a significant drop of over 33%. Is that because Delhi is witnessing a decrease in sexual attacks on women?
After the December 2012 Delhi gang rape case, there was a sudden spurt in the number of rape cases reported in the city. The Delhi Police attributed it to proactive reporting and registration of such cases.
A slide in numbers does not necessarily mean the national capital has become safer. To put things into perspective, rape numbers in 2013 more than doubled from previous year.
But Delhi Police had then said the increase in numbers was a positive sign as police started recording cases verbatim.
Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Swati Maliwal said the decline in number of cases is down to poor conviction rate and less number of forensic labs in the city. She said such reasons deterred women from approaching the police.
“Firstly, the conviction rates in such cases are shockingly low. In 2014, out of 11,000 cases there were convictions of less than 100, as per the data furnished by the Delhi Police to the DCW. And the number of forensic labs in Delhi is abysmal; there is only one such in the entire capital,” said Maliwal.
She says that following a notice by the DCW, the forensic lab in Delhi, situated in Rohini, replied saying that over 1,500 of the samples in the facility in cases pertaining to rape were putrefied.
Maliwal says that a high level committee is need of the hour. “A committee comprising home minister Rajnath Singh, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, LG Najeeb Jung and DCW can speed up the conviction. There should be a meeting every two months,” said Mailwal.
(WION, this article first appeared in DNA)