Ng Liklaileima Arambam
IMPHAL, Jan 17 : The rural-urban divide may manifests itself in many ways and today this is most visible in the fact that crimes against women and child occur with more frequency in the rural areas. There are factors responsible for this deep, ugly divide.
According to the National Family Health Survey-V, (NFHS-V), domestic violence, child marriage, alcoholism are more widespread in rural areas and in Manipur of the 337 cases of rape, murder, suicide and suspicious death recorded in the period 2019 to 2020, 229 cases were from rural areas while 108 were from urban areas.
Of the total 183 cases related to Protection from Child Abuse taken up by Childline in the same period, 106 came from rural areas while the rest were from urban areas.
According to reports compiled by the Women Action for Development which were culled from the daily newspapers published in Imphal, there were 159 rape cases while 66 women were reportedly killed. Another 56 women died under suspicious circumstances and 56 women committed suicide. These statistics pertain to the period 2019 to 2020.
Out of the 159 rape cases reported in the media, 111 were from rural areas while urban areas accounted from 48.
Of the 111 rape cases in rural area, 87 cases involved minor victims including three gang rape cases. In urban areas of the 48 total cases, 34 pertained to minor victims.
Disturbingly amongst the rape cases involving minors many were below the age of 10.
Of the 66 women who were murdered, including after rape, 45 cases were from the rural areas while 21 cases were from urban areas.
The same trend is also seen in the 56 cases of suspicious deaths with rural areas accounting for 37 while the other 19 cases came from urban areas.
In all the death cases, allegations have come from the parents and family of the deceased women that they were ill treated by the husband and his family. Such allegations have also been filed with the police.
Of the 56 report of alleged suicide reported in the last four years, 36 cases were reported from rural areas while the rest came from urban areas.
Speaking to The Sangai Express secretary of WAD, Sobita Mangsatabam said that crime against women in Manipur include rape, gang rape, murder after rape, suspicious deaths of women. She added that most of these cases occurred in the rural areas.
During the COVID-19 pandemic the crime rate against women were more or less the same in rural and urban areas, she added.
Stating that crimes against women stem from the suffocating patriarchy system in Manipur, Sobita said that this mindset is more prevalent in the rural areas than in urban areas and hence more crime in rural areas.
According to findings by the National Family Health Survey-V, 39.6 percent of women between the age of 15 and 49 faced domestic violence in 2019-2020. Of this, rural areas accounted from 42.8 percent while the share of urban areas was 35 percent.
Rural areas accounted for 17.6 percent of child marriage while it was 11.9 in urban areas.
Childline under the Ministry of Women and Child Development intervened in many cases for protection of women and child in seven districts including Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Thoubal, Churachandpur, Senapati and Ukhrul and in cases pertaining to Protection from Abuse, rural areas accounted for more.
Protection from Abuse includes Child Marriage, Child Labour, Trafficking and Sexual Assault.
While urban areas accounted for 37 child abuse cases, 106 such cases were reported from rural areas.
Moreover of the 257 children who were found in shelter homes, 136 were from rural areas while 121 were from urban areas.
City co-ordinator of Childline Thongam Ibothoi told The Sangai Express that child marriage and sexual assault cases of minors are abnormally high in rural areas. People in urban areas are today more informed and more aware of the illegality of child marriage, he said and added that Childline has been spreading awareness on this in both urban and rural areas.
Taking due note of the growing crime against women and child in Manipur there are today nine District Child Protection Unit under the Integrated Child Protection Service. There are also 16 Child Welfare Committee and 41 children home.
According to an official of ICPS, cases of sexual molestation of the girl child are on the rise in Manipur. Children from rural areas are being victimised more than children from urban areas, said the official and added that most of the perpetrators are known to the child victims.
Psychiatrists of RIMS are presently giving counselling and clinical counselling to such child victims, said the official and added that children who feel unsafe at their houses are being given shelter at Drop-in Centre (Open Centre) after taking the case to the Child Welfare Committee.
There are now 16 Drop-in Centre in Manipur.
This report was filed under the Khelen Thokchom Media Fellowship