Cases of child sex­ual abuse BEWARE OF TOUTS PROMIS­ING in­creased by 52% last year MED­I­CAL COL­LEGE SEAT, WARN COPS

KIDS NOT SAFE Cops reg­is­ter 114 cases un­der POCSO Act in 2015, as op­posed to 75 cases in 2014

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NEWS - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

It’s been five days since t he Kharghar po­lice booked three per­sons for al­legedly cheat­ing a par­ent of med­i­cal seat as­pi­rants of Rs 62 lakh promis­ing a seat in a col­lege in Karad. How­ever, they have not been able to make any ar­rest so far.

“We have got the names of the cul­prits and sent peo­ple to dif­fer­ent places search­ing for them. It will take some time to solve the case,’ said SD Darekar, po­lice in­spec­tor from Kharghar po­lice sta­tion.

This was, how­ever, not an iso­lated in­ci­dent. Thou­sands of peo­ple from across the coun­try fall vic­tims to touts, who prom­ise seats in en­gi­neer­ing and med­i­cal col­leges for their chil­dren ev­ery year.

“Af­ter Class 12, stu­dents sit for dif­fer­ent en­trance ex­am­i­na­tions to gain an en­try into med­i­cal and en­gi­neer­ing col­leges. Stu­dents who fail to make to the merit list, des­per­ately look for un­scrupu­lous ways to get into in any good in­sti­tu­tion and touts take un­due ad­van­tage of such a sit­u­a­tion,” said a col­lege prin­ci­pal, re­quest­ing anonymity.

Touts of­fer to help th­ese stu­dents se­cure a seat in premier en­gi­neer­ing or med­i­cal col­leges in re­turn of huge money, rang­ing from Rs20 lakh to Rs60 lakh. “Touts visit col­leges at this time in the hope of find­ing stu­dents who do not fea­ture in the merit list,” said the prin­ci­pal.

“We ad­vise stu­dents to not fall prey of such touts and se­cure seat through mer­its,” she added.

Suresh Men­gade, deputy com­mis­sioner of po­lice ( spe­cial branch), said: “Peo­ple are ed­u­cated but some of them end up giv­ing money to the cul­prits for en­sur­ing a seat and fi­nally get cheated.”

“We are tak­ing all steps to curb the men­ace of the touts. But, it is im­por­tant that col­lege au­thor­i­ties also take pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures to en­sure the safety of the stu­dents as well as their par­ents. In­stalling CCTV cam­eras on col­lege cam­puses and dis­tribut­ing ad­vi­sories for out­siders could help,” said an­other po­lice of­fi­cer.

While Na vi Mum­bai po­lice have been claim­ing that crime in the city is un­der con­trol for the past few years, the sta­tis­tics of child sex­ual abuse cases tell a dif­fer­ent story.

Sex­ual of­fences against chil­dren have in­creased by 52% in the city in past one year.

Ac­cord­ing to the sources of city crime branch, t he po­lice reg­is­tered as many as 114 cases un­der Pro­tec­tion of Chil­dren from Sex­ual Of­fences (POCSO) Act, (2012) last year as op­posed to just 75 cases reg­is­tered in 2014.

In a ma­jor­ity of the cases the cul­prits were known to the vic­tims.

In sev­eral cases, teach­ers, fam­ily mem­bers, school bus driv­ers and even their fa­thers turned out to be the of­fend­ers.

Apart from POCSO, the ac­cused were also booked un­der sec­tions 376 ( pun­ish­ment for rape), sec­tion 354 ( as­sault or crim­i­nal force to woman with in­tent to out­rage her mod­esty) and sec­tion 377 ( un­nat­u­ral of­fences) of the In­dian Pe­nal Code (IPC).

The po­lice claim to have solved over 90% of th­ese cases.

Se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers said that be­cause of in­creased aware­ness more and more peo­ple are com­ing to reg­is­ter cases un­der this l aw and hence the num­ber of cases is in­creas­ing no­tice­ably.

Dilip Sawant, deputy com­mis­sioner of po­lice ( crime), said, “Ear­lier, many peo­ple were not aware of this new law which was in­tro­duced in 2012. They were also hes­i­tant to re­port a sex­ual as­sault case to the po­lice be­cause of var­i­ous rea­sons.”

“But the sce­nario is chang­ing now and peo­ple are com­ing to reg­is­ter such cases in large num­ber. So we can say that in a way it is a healthy phe­nom­e­non as all crimes are be­ing re­ported to the po­lice,” said Sawant.

The pat­tern of preven­tive polic­ing for re­duc­ing such crimes is how­ever a big ques­tion of ev­ery­one.

“The po­lice depart­ment is of­ten held re­spon­si­ble for the in­crease of crime against chil­dren and women in the city. But what can the po­lice do if rel­a­tive or fam­ily mem­ber abuse a girl in­side their res­i­dences. In such cases, we ar­rest the ac­cused only af­ter we are re­ported about the crime by some of the fam­ily mem­bers,” said a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer.

Shobha Murthy, who has been work­ing for wel­fare of the down­trod­den chil­dren for al­most two decades, said, “Pro­tec­tion of the chil­dren from the cul­prits has be­come a big chal­lenge for the en­tire so­ci­ety now.”

She added: “Par­ents should give time to their chil­dren as far as pos­si­ble and keep them un­der sur­veil­lance. We sug­gest not to al­low kids to go with any­one else apart from par­ents and sib­lings.”

TOUTS OF­FER HELP AND DE­MAND RS20 LAKH TO RS60 LAKH FOR A SEAT IN PREMIER EN­GI­NEER­ING OR MED­I­CAL COL­LEGES.

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