New Delhi: Friends, lovers or neighbours of women often turn sexual predators and the majority of rapists in the capital were known to victims, according to Delhi Police data. Police also maintains that the city is safe for women, including foreigners, and cites global data in support of its claim.
The capital has seen an unprecedented increase in rape cases in the first four months of 2013 at 463. The corresponding period last year witnessed 179 rapes in comparison.
Ninety-seven percent of the rape accused were known to the victims and 40 percent of them were either lovers or friends, police data made available to IANS in response to a query has revealed.
"Of 463 cases of rapes, 178 were committed by friends or lovers of the victim, while in 115 cases neighbours were involved," said Dharmendra Kumar, Special Commissioner of Police.
Even after the Dec 16, 2012 brutal gang-rape in Delhi, which led to massive street protests, there seems to be no stopping of the dastardly crimes against women. In fact, it has seen a surge.
Delhi Police claims the spike in rape cases is due to increased awareness among people which has led to rise in registering rape cases since the Dec 16, 2012 gang-rape.
"The spurt can be attributed to increased awareness amongst the general public and the special measures taken by Delhi Police because of which women are now feeling encouraged to come forth and lodge complaint," Dharmendra Kumar said.
The police, who had to face public wrath in the wake of increased sexual crimes against women, dismiss the claim of women activists of Delhi being a "rape capital".
Delhi Police maintain the capital is extremely safe for women, especially foreign women travellers.
"Delhi is an extremely safe place for foreign women. A comparison with some major cities of the world reveals that incidents of rape per 100,000 population in Delhi were 4.15 compared to 52.8 in London, 10.6 in New York, 32.6 in Washington, 33 in Brisbane and 73 in Cape Town," a police statement said.
"Hundreds of thousands of women go out every night in Delhi to work, shop, for recreation and the like. They return home safely. Delhi, contrary to all the media hype, is as safe, if not more, for women as any other city in the world," Dharmendra Kumar said.
However, the travel and trade industry has seen a sudden dip in women foreign travellers coming to India, especially New Delhi, due to the rape tag.
The senior police officer said to ensure the security and safety of women and to pre-empt any incidents like the Dec 16, 2012 gang-rape, 255 routes taken by women returning home late at night from entertainment hubs and commercial areas have beeen mapped out.
"Police presence has been increased along these routes by redeployment of assets including PCR Vans, motorcycle patrols and pickets. Civic agencies have been given lists of dark stretches along these routes to improve the lighting conditions," Dharmendra Kumar pointed out.
Besides, strict instructions have been issued to all police stations to immediately register a case on a complaint lodged by a woman, without making even a preliminary enquiry, which has seen a rise in the number of rape cases registered, he added.
On Dec 16 last year, a 23-year-old woman was brutally gang-raped by six people on a moving bus. She died a few days later of grievous injuries. The incident sparked a furore across the country.