Odisha has reported close to 10,000 rape cases in the last three years with sizeable chunk of the victims being minor or adolescent children. On an average, the state reported around nine sexual assault cases every day, the government informed the Assembly on Monday.
The state accounted for as many as 9,495 rape cases in 36 months with the monthly average of rape cases standing at alarming 263. The rate of conviction of the accused held in rape cases in the State is on a lower side.
Legal experts are of the view that lower conviction rate in is a worrying development in the state.
Delayed investigation is also resulting in a lower rate of conviction in such offences. Besides, the charge-sheet being submitted to the court by the police is not always foolproof. Discrepancies in the charge sheet make the case weak during the trial leading to the acquittal of the accused persons. Besides, witnesses under pressure from various quarters turn hostile, leading to the decline in conviction, they said.
Delay in the trial process was an area of concern. The government has taken steps to do away with the trial delay with the setting up of more fast track courts, said a senior police official.
Legal measures and punishment alone cannot stop rape cases. The need of the hour is the launch of well-orchestrated endeavours of all stakeholders that include police, civil society members, and educational institutions’ heads to parents. The age-old mindset of gender inequality and women being treated as objects of sexual pleasure has to be pushed to the rear, observed rights activists.