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Even cops in each home can't prevent rapes: Maharashtra minister
Wednesday June 11, 2014 8:30 PM, IANS

Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil said Wednesday many crimes against women take place in their homes and even deploying a policeman in each house will not help, prompting an attack from the opposition.

"Many crimes against women take place within the confines of their own homes. Is it feasible to deploy a policeman in each household?" Patil asked, replying to a lively debate on crimes on women and atrocities on Dalits in the assembly Wednesday.

To prove his point, Patil cited some shocking statistics - 42 percent rapes were committed by people known to the victims, 6.34 percent by relatives like brothers or fathers, 6.65 percent by close relatives and 40 percent by others on the promise of marriage.

He said serious crimes like rape are on the rise due to an "erosion in moral values" in society, though such incidents were lesser in Maharashtra compared to other states.

Disagreeing with Patil's views, BJP Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Vinod Tawde blasted him for being "a total failure" in curbing crimes against women in the state.

"Where is the need to post police in every home. The home minister must ensure one policeman is able to control 10,000 people. The state police had this kind of mettle once, but it is not there ever since the present minister took office," Tawde said.

He said in the past, Patil had given many assurances of taking stern action in such matters, but it remained at that -- "He is like an 'announcements minister'," Tawde said sarcastically.

After the opposition attack, Patil turned around to say his comments were being misconstrued and Maharashtra remains a safe state for women.

"I have always maintained that women's safety has been, is and will continue to be our top priority... We shall also deal with any deficiencies," he said.

On his controversial remark about deploying cops in each home, Patil clarified that ensuring stringent, exemplary punishment to the perpetrators of any crime, like the Shakti Mills gang rape case was important so others would not dare to repeat such offences.

During the assembly debate, he announced that women victims of such crimes would be entitled to get a lawyer of their choice.

In addition, Patil said within two months, the state government will procure 500 wireless vans, each with a woman police officer to check crimes against women.

On the growing incidents of chain-snatching, especially in urban centres like Mumbai, the government will form a special squad of 200 women commandos within a month to deal with chain snatchers.

The minister's assurances came in the wake of the recent Economic Survey of Maharashtra for 2013-14 which revealed that in 2012, there were 17,800 cases of crimes against women and another 3,456 crimes against children in the state.

These included 1,839 cases of rape, 3,935 of molestations, 1,294 of sexual harassment, 366 of illegal trafficking, 7,415 of domestic violence, 1,140 of kidnappings and 329 of dowry-related deaths.

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