If Hyderabad shocks, Gujarat numbs nation

When Hyderabad struck, Gujarat cops were battling with 3 rape cases in 48 hours, 24 in a month.

Ahmedabad: Even as the countrywise outrage over the shocking Hyderabad veterinarian’s rape and murder continued, Gujarat was already dealing with the shocks of at least three minor girls in its prime cities of Vadodara, Rajkot and Surat during the last hours, at a time when at least two dozen rape cases in just one month in the State had become a mere regular statistic.

Expressing shock over the rape incidents, Gujarat’s Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja told reporters that, “We will try to get the accused of rape cases sentenced to death.”

In Rajkot city, the police have already arrested a factory worker who had allegedly brutally raped an eight-year-old girl in a drunken state, while a step-father who repeatedly raped his 11-year-old daughter in Surat has been picked up. However, the police are clueless on Saturday’s rape of a 14-year-old in Vadodara.

Notwithstanding the MoS (Home)’s anger over the incidents, numbers tell a sorry tale in the State. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), as many as 4,358 rape incidents were reported during the five years as on March 2018, including a whopping 2,408 minor girl victims.

As many as 97 cases from these have been registered as gangrapes in the police records.

Of the cases in the four major cities in Gujarat between April 2013 and March, 2018, Ahmedabad tops the list with 621 cases, followed by Surat with 557 incidents, 136 in Rajkot and 109 in Vadodara.

While the 2019’s statistics are being put together, official police sources informed First India that as of today 24 such rape crimes were reported during the last one m0nth in Gujarat.

Among these, nine were reported from Surat, four in Rajkot, two in North Gujarat’s Ambaji, and one each in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Junagadh, Mehsana, Palanpur, Kadi, Vav, Dantiwada and Tharad.

Additional DGP (Women Cell) Anil Pratham agrees the situation is grim, though the State Government has put several plans in place. “The problem is lack of coordination between different agencies tasked to handle crimes against women and the field staff of various police stations,” Pratham told First India. Efforts are already on to improve this situation, the IPS official added.

Newly appointed Ahmedabad Police Commissioner Ashish Bhatia, who has a rich experience as ADGP (Crime), told First India that he has started on activating the Integrated Cell for Crimes Against Women as a priority. He also said, “We have several such women related initiatives of the State Government, we only need to synchronise them properly.”

Surat Police Commissioner RB Brahmabhatt says, “The unfortunate incident of an 11-year-old girl’s rape in Surat by her step-father is shameful. The girl who came to the notice of her mother has only now come up with details of the shocking crime committed by her stepfather two or three times. We have immediately arrested the stepfather.” The police were trying its best, he added.

Rajkot Police Commissioner Manoj Agrawal put the issue in perspective. He told First India: “I insist that Gujarat is a safe state for women compared to other states, if you look at crime incident per lakh population.”

“That does not make us complacent. We have to aggressively focus on trying our best present such crimes against women. We will do this by putting a check on anti-socials by strict patrolling and better intelligence on drugs and narcotics.”

Unsafe cities: Of the cases in the four major cities in Gujarat between April 2013 and March, 2018, Ahmedabad tops the list with 621 cases, followed by Surat with 557 incidents, 136 in Rajkot and 109 in Vadodara. While the 2019’s statistics are being put together, official police sources informed First India that 24 such rape crimes were reported during the last one month in Gujarat.