A Rape Every 24 Hours in Punjab Chandigarh, September 21 In a shocking revelation that may bring to a naught the steps initiated by the Punjab government for the security of the fairer sex, at least one rape is reported from the state daily and a woman is murdered every second day. And at least one case of molestation and two women kidnappings are reported every 24 hours. Such are the findings of a data gathered by the Punjab police on crime against women. From January (2009) till July-end (a period of seven months), 257 rape incidents took place in Punjab, 334 women were kidnapped while another 200 were molested. More than 115 were murdered. Besides, every second day a women is driven to suicide and there is, on an average, at least one dowry death in the state every month. While the data is gathered on a monthly basis by the Police department in accordance with the number of FIRs lodged across the state, the ground situation could be even worse as a large number of cases of crime against women go unreported. “The Punjab police is also not at all sensitised to crime against women. There have been instances in the recent past when SSPs have chosen to ignore the orders of the commission,” said Gurdev Kaur Sangha, chairperson of the Punjab State Commission for Women. Notably, the figures are hardly any different from those gathered from the state the previous year. While the number of rape and kidnapping cases almost remains the same, the number of women murdered has gone up. The number of women being driven to suicide, too, has increased marginally. Sangha said the commission would call a meeting of all the SSPs to ascertain what special steps were being taken to ensure that the crime against women decreases. “According to my knowledge, no extra efforts are made by the police to ensure prosecution of those involved in heinous crimes against women,” she said. In a communication to Punjab Chief Secretary SC Agrawal, women commission member secretary Sarvesh Kaushal, too, had requested a high-level review of the whole gamut of offences against women in the state. “This (crime rate) calls for not only exemplary investigations and efficient prosecution of the accused, but also for an in-depth inquiry into the nature and quality of handling of earlier cases by the police and prosecution authorities. Laxity in such matters may tend to dilute the deterrence and, in fact, act as an invitation to commit offences against women and get away with them,” he wrote. “Even though a large number of women have been driven to commit suicide for various reasons or done to death by dowry seekers, it is strange that only two cases under the domestic violence act have been registered in Punjab from January to May (2009). The domestic violence act is already operational but such insensitivity to the cause of women is baffling. The same is true of another burning issue of female foeticide for which only 11 cases have been reported during the period,” Kaushal pointed out.