Bhanu P Lohumi
Shimla, June 13
Sexual crime against children is on the rise in Himachal Pradesh with the cases registered under the POCSO Act witnessing a 44.8 per cent rise over six years from 223 in 2016 to 323 in 2021.
As many as 2,164 persons, including 2,040 males and 124 females, were arrested in 1,683 cases registered under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act from 2016 till 2021, according to data procured from the police department. In all, 1,804 children, including 1,747 females and 57 males, were victimised.
Narvir Singh Rathore, ASP, Cyber Crime, said easy access to sexually explicit material and pornographic sites on the Internet and glamorising physical contact in films and serials were some of the reasons contributing to increase in such cases.
Officials said of the 1,683 cases, 112 were cancelled due to lack of evidence, accused were untraced in 20, two were pending while chargesheet had been filed in 1,549 others. The accused were convicted in 99 cases, acquitted in 194 while 1,256 cases are pending in the court. Taking a serious note of the rise in cases under the POCSO Act, the Himachal police would launch an initiative—“Register 26”—to record the cases of crime against women and children from August 1, 2020, said Director General of Police, Sanjay Kundu.
Vital information about the accused, including their physical, social, economic and emotional profile, details of the crime, gist of the FIR and subsequent investigation would be recorded in the register.
The POCSO Act was established in 2012 to protect the children against offences like sexual abuse, sexual harassment and pornography. An expert said the children needed to be sensitised about the impending risk to their modesty at the hands of friends, relatives or others and early detection of warning signals relating to advances or inappropriate gestures.