Cases of crimes against women, including rape and dowry deaths, are on the rise in Assam, where women have traditionally been held in high esteem by the society.
Official sources informed that as many as 20,134 cases of crime against women were registered in Assam between 2005 and 2008, out of which 6133 cases were in 2005-06, 6724 cases in 2006-07 and 7297 cases in 2007-08.
There has been a discernible rise in registered cases of rape and abduction of women in the state. The police registered 1282 cases of rape in 2007-08 compared to 1222 cases in 2006-07 and 1208 cases in 2005-06. The police have already registered 437 cases of rape in the state till April this year.
The most disturbing trend is the rise in cases of dowry deaths in the state, where dowry is traditionally not an accepted practice in society. As many as 119 women were killed in the state in dowry-related violence in 2007-08 compared to 84 deaths in 2006-07 and 88 in 2005-06.
Alaka Desai Sharma, a legislator from opposition Asom Gana Parishad, said that the data was an understatement as many cases of crime against women went unreported in the state.
"The environment in police stations in Assam is hardly women friendly. Moreover, there is social stigma attached to crimes like rape and molestation. Police stations in Assam hardly have women officers to tackle cases related to women," she pointed out.