By Ronald Stone Syiem
NONGSTOIN: West Khasi Hills district of the State has witnessed an unprecedented rise in crimes against women with as many as 54 cases being reported in police stations across the district in the past two years.
A great number of these cases are related to rape of minor girls.
What is surprising is the fact that a great number of cases related to crime against women and minor girls go unreported due to a variety of reasons. Estimates put the number of unreported cases at double the figure of cases which are reported.
Out of these 54 cases, 28 cases were reported in 2010 (20 rape cases, seven molestation cases and one murder case), while 26 cases (19 rape cases, six molestation cases and one murder case) have been registered till date this year.
Though police have been actively investigating such reports, yet in most cases, the accused remain scot free. Among the few successful cases cracked by the police include the arrest of one Gabriel Kharshandi, a resident of Riangdo village in West Khasi Hills district, who is accused of raping eight minor girls including a three-year-old girl in 2010 alone.
Officer-in-charge, Nongstoin Women Police, FK Marak told this scribe that the district has only three women police officers out of which two officers are posted at the Nongstoin district headquarters while one is posted at Mawkyrwat police station.
“Qualitative investigation into the rising cases of crimes against women is hindered due to shortage of women police personnel as a whole,” she added.
The police official, however, sounded optimistic that the number of crimes against women would decline once the State Government increases the strength of women police personnel taking into account the need of the hour.
Meanwhile, majority of the women folk in the district are living in a fear psychosis especially with the growing number of rape cases against minor girls.
Even the Seng Longkmie of Nongstoin could not provide any definite plan on what kind of action needed to be taken to prevent crimes against women.