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Delhi safe for women: Police chief

January 06, 2004 04:43 IST

Delhi police commissioner R S Gupta on Monday said the city is not unsafe for women.

The police have taken several steps to ensure peace in the city, which witnessed a series of crimes against women last year, he said while presenting the annual report of the 60,000-strong force.

"We have done an excellent job in controlling crime in the city," he said.

Ironically, in 2003 Delhi witnessed 446 rape and 475 molestation cases, which represent an increase. There were 422 rapes in 2002, 404 in 2001, 458 in 2000, 408 in 1999 and 441 in 1998.

The most gruesome was the rape of a nurse in Shanti Mukund private hospital in east Delhi by an employee on September 6. The woman lost one eye during the incident as the rapist thrust his fingers into it, almost gouging it out.

On October 6 presidential bodyguards raped a student of the prestigious Jesus and Mary College.

Just eight days later a Swiss diplomat was abducted from the Siri Fort Auditorium during an international film festival and raped. The accused are still absconding.

These incidents forced Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani to call for death penalty for rapists.

But Gupta had his own argument.

The rapes committed by strangers have decreased from 11.91 per cent in 2002 to 6.01 per cent in 2003. In other words, the Delhi police have been successful in controlling such cases, according to him.

"In most of the cases, rapists were known to the victims. They were close relatives. Here, the police cannot do much to prevent the crime," Gupta told rediff.com

"Also, more and more people are now reporting rape cases to the police."

According to the police, close relatives committed 46 rapes in Delhi last year. Eleven fathers, two grandfathers, 14 brothers-in-law, eight uncles, four cousins, three stepfathers, one father-in-law and three ex-husbands were the accused.

Twenty women were raped by friends and lovers, while in 209 cases neighbours were the accused.

In the diplomat's case, Gupta said a Special Investigation Team of 20 officers has been formed. "We are confident of solving the case. Every crime needs a different kind of treatment depending upon its complexities. We should get some time to do our job," said Gupta.

"On our request, three special courts with female judges as presiding officers were constituted by the Hon'ble High Court and are assisted by three female prosecutors to try fresh cases of rape since April 1, 2003," he said. "Several preventive measures have also been taken."

There was also a decrease in dowry deaths from 136 in 2002 to 127 last year, he said.

During last year's press conference, Gupta had said Delhi was the safest place for women. Women groups and rights activists had panned him for saying this.

Ehtasham Khan in New Delhi