Kolkata, March 22 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here Friday that the rising number of rape cases was connected to increasing population.
"You say rape incidents are on the rise. But the population is also swelling. Is the population in the state the same as it was during the tenure of (the state's second chief minister) B.C Roy?" she said.
"There are more cars now. Shopping malls are increasing. Young boys and girls are becoming more modern," Banerjee told opposition members while closing the debate on the governor's address in the assembly.
Banerjee added that earlier women were too shy to lodge complaints. "But they are now coming out to register their complaints. This is a good sign for society."
She said that her government did not want even one instance of rape in the state.
Giving last year's comparative figures, the chief minister said Kolkata recorded 45 rape cases till November and Delhi 621.
In 2007, 44 rape cases were registered in Kolkata, which saw 35 such cases in 2008, 42 in 2009, 32 in 2010 and 38 in 2011.
Banerjee said the state recorded 1,673 rape cases in 2005, 1,693 in 2006, 2,062 in 2007, 2,228 in 2008, 2,292 in 2009, 2,279 in 2010, 1,650 in 2011 and 1,836 up to November 2012.
In 2011, there were 453 rape cases in Delhi, 221 in Mumbai, 97 in Bangalore and 76 in Chennai, she said.
The opposition has been accusing the state government of its incapability in controlling atrocities like rape against women.
Last October, while speaking at a programme in the city, Banerjee had accused the media of glorifying rape and pointed to the more permissive society.
"Earlier, if men and women held hands, parents would reprimand them. Now everything is done openly. It's like an open market with open options," Banerjee had said.
The chief minister had also courted a controversy in February 2012 when she termed the allegation of an Anglo-Indian woman that she was raped inside a moving car in the posh Park Street area as "cooked up to malign her government".
Painter Samir Aich lashed out against Banerjee.
"Only political leaders can give such logic. It defies common sense. Going by the same logic, murders and other crimes should also go up if population increases. We know such crimes can increase even if the population decreases if there is administrative laxity," Aich told IANS.