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
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.
Wh i l e N av i 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.
Apar t f rom POCSO, t he 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.”