TODAY -

Rape cases against minors on the rise
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Newmai News Network

Shillong, April 21 2013: Rape cases against minors are on the rise in the state of Meghalaya and this has raised concern from all quarters calling for an end to this 'rape-culture' .In the past seven years, a total of 269 rape cases against minors have been registered as per the statistic provided by the Meghalaya State Crime Record Bureau.

Only in 2012, 78 cases have been registered while 57 in 2011, 41 - 2010, 17 - 2009, 35 - 2008, 24 - 2007 and 17 - 2006 .

A concern citizen of Shillong (on request of anonymity) said, "We are no longer proud to be called a matrilineal society when the culture of the people has gone down so much in which even innocent children are not spared" .

According to him, the society at large need a lot of soul searching to do as such crimes 20 years ago is not popular in this part of the country.

"But now Meghalaya has turned itself into a rape state," adding "The need of the hour is to pin the problem right at its bud and ensure that perpetrators committing such heinous crimes are not let scot free" .

A resident from Jowai who has a five year old daughter said, "I m scared to even leave my daughter to play all by herself after going through such reports where children are molested and violated," adding "There is low conviction rate and we need strong laws to keep a check and prevent such incident from recurring" .

Recently, there has been a strong demand from different quarters including legislators during the recent Assembly session asking the state government to make the fast track courts functional in all the districts of the state.

Speaking to one of the women NGO leaders who has been actively involved in dealing with such issues said the lack of sensitivity boosts up the perpetrators, who brags, that they can pay off the police and the lawyers, and get out in a day or two after committing the crime.

"We demanded that all records of these cases should be provided for when sought and stringent punishment of 5 years and above to any police that do not investigate well a rape case, to some Doctors who instead of recording the rape narrated by the victim, writes "History of sexual intercourse", to many Asst Public Prosecutors who do nothing but "leave it to the discretion of the Courts", and to some judges who do not apply their Judicial minds in such cases and lets off the perpetrators who are on the lose to commit the crime again," Civil Society Women's Organization (CSWO) president Agnes Kharshiing said.

She also expressed concerned that 24 rape cases were tried in Jaintia Hills between 2002 to 2012, in the fast Track Court at Jowai, but no one was convicted.

'This is a shock and an insult to the affected victims, who crave for justice,' the NGO leader stated.

Kharshiing however said that the organization would also urge that since Meghalaya has a High Court of their own, the District Council should also be monitored by the high Court as many perpetrators are seeking and getting anticipatory bail from these courts, and in turn they are intimidating the relatives of the victims.

It is learnt that rapes of tribal vrs tribal are also forwarded to the District Council Court and the cases linger on.

Informing that the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women would be visiting Imphal on April 28, 2013, she said, "We would take up these cases with the UN, SR" .


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