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Over 10 Years, Molestations in Bengaluru rose 417% and Conviction Rate 0.37%

This data project could serve as a template for how police in India's burgeoning cities can make sense of their crime data in public interest

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Eve Teasing (representational Image), Wikimedia

– by Elizabeth Mani

May 6, 2017: In a decade to 2016, the incidents of molestation (under Section 354) reported in Bengaluru increased more than four-fold, statistics compiled by the city’s Commissioner of Police show. Yet, according to our analysis of police data, of the 4,241 complaints filed between 2006 and 2016, the conviction rate was 0.37 percent (16 cases).

The number of complaints under Section 354 (assault to outrage the modesty of a woman) rose from 150 in 2006 to 776 in 2016. Experts say this could be because of an increase in the number of incidents as well as greater willingness on the part of women to register complaints.

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This data project could serve as a template for how police in India’s burgeoning cities can make sense of their crime data in public interest.

Section 354 includes sexual harassment (354A), use of criminal force with intent to disrobe (354B), voyeurism (354C) and stalking (354D). The data obtained from the Bengaluru commissionerate group these offences under molestation.

Bengaluru entered 2017 with reports of mass molestation of women in the city’s bustling MG Road and Brigade Road areas despite deployment of thousands of police personnel. The reports came as a shock to residents and for people across the country who believed the city to be safe for women.

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Kavya S., 24, was on her way to work when a stranger attacked her in public. It was around 8:30 am in broad daylight, I was walking to work in Kormangala when a stranger grabbed me and tried to kiss me in front of dozens of people! No one came to my help but when I screamed and kicked him, they yelled at me and asked me to leave him, she recounted.

Kavya immediately filed a complaint with the local police under Section 354, but did not pursue the case once she shifted her residence. Police officials were very cooperative, she recalled, but I couldn’t follow up on the case as I had to shift my house and job.

Cases such as Kavya’s are increasingly common, although Bengaluru police say they are working to improve the law and order situation for women. We have identified areas that are hotspots for crimes against women and launched 51 Pink Hoysalas (mobile units) that are dedicated to women. We have also launched an app called ‘Suraksha’ last week (April second week). Anyone can inform us if they are in danger and we would reach the spot in 10 minutes, S. Ravi, Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime), told IndiaSpend.

Bengaluru’s criminal justice system is marred by delays, as with the rest of India’s. Of the 4,241 molestation cases reported, 2,248 (53 per cent) are pending trial, according to data from the Bengaluru City Police Commissionerate.

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Among the cases tried, there have been 523 acquittals (12 per cent) and 16 convictions (0.37 per cent) — even as the police consider 97 per cent of cases to be true after investigation. A decade earlier, the figure for true cases was 84 per cent, indicating more open-mindedness in dealing with women’s complaints as well as better effort on the police’s part to investigate.

However, lawyers and activists believe the large proportion of acquittals is due to shoddy investigation. In most crime against women cases, especially the molestation cases, the accused get acquitted or the cases are kept pending for years, Pramila Nesargi, a noted lawyer and a well-known women’s rights activist, said. The main reason for all these is the reluctance of police in getting proper evidence.

Bengaluru’s conviction rate for molestation is indicative of the larger problem nationwide. Few women who survive sexual assault have a pathway to justice and recovery from their horror, said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, an advocacy, in a statement.

The government needs to think from women’s perspective, Rani Shetty, coordinator of Vanitha Sahayavani, a government agency that provides rescue and support services for women in distress, and operates from the office of the Commissioner of Police, told IndiaSpend. I have met many victims of molestation whose cases have been pending for years. The legal system needs to be strong, there should be fast-track judgment for any cases related to women, she said.

As per law, the police have to file a chargesheet within 90 days of a crime being reported. [I]n most cases, they fail to do so, and this in turn affects the court proceedings, Ugrappa V.S., a member of the Karnataka Legislative Council and chairperson of the expert committee to prevent crimes against women and children, told IndiaSpend.

Judicial delays, which make it easy for the accused to get bail, can be extremely dangerous for victims of sexual assault. In one case, a Grade IX student was molested by her 25-year-old neighbour. Her family filed a Section 354 case at the Peenya police station and the accused was arrested immediately. On his release on bail within four months, he kidnapped the girl and raped her. He is back in jail now.

What happened to me shouldn’t happen to any girl. He has to be punished, the girl told IndiaSpend.

If the police had taken strict action on his first crime, they could have prevented the second incident. Now he is in jail but he might do the same thing when he comes out, her father said.

The city’s burgeoning population, with a massive influx of immigrants, could be one of the factors behind molestation cases such as the one that took place on New Year’s eve, former Lokayukta Justice (Retd) N. Santosh Hegde said speaking at a private college in the city in March 2017. The 2011 census had pegged Bangalore city’s population at 84.4 lakh. By 2016, it had risen to more than 1.15 crore.

They come alone. They stay alone. And the manly desire is always there, he said at the discussion about immigrants, adding that the benefit of anonymity in an overcrowded city apparently emboldens them to pursue their pervert desires. He also cited a lack of morals as one of the reasons. (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Rankings of Aam Aadmi Party Delhi MLAs Drop due to Poor Performance. Praja Foundation publishes Latest Government Performance Report

This year, the performance of BJP MLAs in Delhi was better than AAP

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Praja Foundation
AAP Legislator's performance are going down in quality. Wikimedia
  • Praja Foundation assesses the performance of the government every year
  • The government performance for AAP has revealed the reality of the situation in Delhi this year, as per report released on Aug 22, 2017
  • The AAP legislators ranking has gone down while BJP members have improved from last year

August 23, 2017: The Praja Foundation, which gives a performance report of the government every year, presented a detailed report of the performance of the Delhi government in the year 2017.

The Praja Foundation had reported on the performance of the Delhi government last year even when there was a lot of attacks on the party. This year too it has issued ranking based on the performance of the legislators.

Also Read: Birthday Song for Arvind Kejriwal: A Special Troll and Parody by AAP’s Ex Minister Kapil Mishra

The Highlights from the Report released on Aug 22, 2017:

– The quality of the work of the MLAs from AAP has drastically dropped down.

– Criminal legislators increased, more than half the legislators are tainted. The number of criminal legislators is now 39 (56 percent). Last year, this number was 14.

– Surprisingly, it is not only lawsuits but also charge sheet that has been filed against 25 of the 70 MLAs.

– In 2016 sessions, BJP legislator Vijender Gupta asked 98 questions for the most. After that, the second was also the name of Jagdish Pradhan of BJP. He asked a total of 81 questions. At the third place was AAP minister Alka Lamba who asked 49 questions. Compared to last year, AAP asked fewer questions this year.

– This year, the performance of BJP MLAs was better than AAP. 7 MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party did not ask a single question in the 2017 session. While two legislators Raghubinder Shukin and Mo Ishrak did not ask a single question in 2016 and 2017.

– Record number of complaints in Delhi Jal Board (DJB): It is not that complaints did not come. In 2016, the highest number of complaints were related to waterboard (Jal Board). There were 2,27,444 water complaints. Only 40 questions related to water were asked. After that, the PWD department received the most complaints. 19,152 complaints were of the drain, sewer drainage, while only 5 questions were asked. In 2016, there were 11,099 complaints related to mosquitoes and fogs. At the same time, the question was asked just 2 times.

– With the functioning of the legislators, the opinion of the people of Delhi was also asked and on the same basis, the MLAs were given the rank. It was told that the Hansa agency from 24,000 people of Delhi asked questions and got ranking on the functioning of the legislators. On the basis of work and public opinion, the Aam Aadmi Party MLAs were given the rank.

– AAP’s Mohinder Goyal was elected the best legislator. He got the first place as out of 100, he got 75.4.

– Who were the bad performers? Ram Pahalwan got the lowest at just 27.26 while Rituraj Govind was second and Dinesh Mohania was third.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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‘Namma Bengaluru Habba’ : Green Festival in Bengaluru Witnesses 1,000 people taking part in the event

People from all walks of life participated in Bengaluru's Green Festival

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A man on Jet Ski, Green Festival, Bengaluru
A man on Jet Ski, Green Festival, Bengaluru. Pixabay
  • The fest had about 20 artists who performed the traditional ‘Yakshagana’ theatre and drum dance dollu kunita
  • Visitors had an opportunity to cruise around the lake with fly boards and jet skis
  • As environment protection is a cause of concern, it is events like these that will create awareness among the public and lead to greater sustainability

Bengaluru, August 21, 2017: About 1,000 people from all walks of life took part in a cultural festival titled ‘Namma Bengaluru Habba’ (Our Bengaluru Festival) at the Sankey Tank here on Sunday to create awareness on the protection of environment.

Organised by the Karnataka Tourism Department, the fest had about 20 artists who performed the traditional ‘Yakshagana’ theatre, and drum dance ‘dollu kunita’, while apart from the street musicians, magicians, jugglers, caricature artists and painters, visitors had an opportunity to cruise around the lake with fly boards and jet skis.

There were also 20 stalls and a flea market selling organic produce and eco-friendly products, including terracotta jewellery, natural soaps, millet-based products and jute etc.

“As environmental protection is a cause of concern, it is events like these that will create awareness among the public and lead to greater sustainability,” said state Information Technology, Biotechnology and Tourism Minister Priyank M. Kharge in a statement.

“It is great to see so many people participating in support of the cause. The fest is a community building activity to preserve Bengaluru’s ecology,” he added. (IANS)