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2,723 rape cases in Gujarat in two years. Are women safe?

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Over 2,700 cases of rape were registered in different parts of Gujarat in the last two years, the BJP government informed the Legislative Assembly. As many as 2,723 cases of rape and gang-rape were registered in two years, which comes to around three to four such cases every day, revealed the data shared by the Gujarat government during the Question Hour of the Assembly session.

While the most number of cases, that is 540, were registered in Ahmedabad, only nine were registered in tribal-dominated Dang district in the last two years that ended in December 2019. Since the figures suggested that most of the victims were from the age-group of 16 to 18, Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani sought an assurance from the government to protect the minor girls.

In his response, Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja termed the rape figures “misleading” saying that most of the cases involving victims from this age group were that of elopement. “As you are aware, if a person elopes with a minor girl of 16 to 18 years, a complaint of rape is registered. Thus figures are not always real. I want to tell you that Gujarat is not a rape capital,” he said.

When asked about conviction and arrests, Jadeja said a high-level committee of the government regularly meets to review the ongoing investigations into the rape cases and efforts are made to nab the accused.

However, arrests were not possible in some cases due to the high court orders or compromise between victims and accused. When the House was discussing rape cases registered in Arvalli and Sabarkantha districts, Speaker Rajendra Trivedi termed the incidents of elopement as a “serious issue” and asked Jadeja to share with him the number of rape complaints which were lodged as a result of “love affairs”.