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Violence against women in Punjab up by 2%: report

* Aurat Foundation says 3,153 incidents of violence against women recorded in 2nd half of 2011
* Foundation calls for women complaint cells at police stations

LAHORE: There had been a two percent increase in violence against women in Punjab during the last six months of 2011 as compared to the first half of the year, the Aurat Foundation (AF) said in its report on Monday.

Expressing its concern, the foundation has demanded that the government establish a women complaint cell at every police station. Mehnaz Raffi, MPA Sajida Mir, Legal Adviser to Governor Abdullah Mali, AF Resident Director Nasreen Zehra and AF Policy and Data Monitoring Unit Regional Coordinator Nabeela Shaheen issued details of the second bi-annual report (July–December 2011) on incidents of violence in Punjab, at a press conference.

According to the report, a total of 3,153 incidents of violence against women were recorded under the categories of abduction, kidnapping, rape, gang rape, murder, suicide, domestic violence, honour killing, and sexual assault. Cases of abduction have the highest ratio in all districts.

In the six-month report, it is seen that the ratio of violence-related crimes in rural areas is more than that in urban areas, as 1,520 incidents of violence were recorded in rural areas while 1,306 in urban areas. Some 327 such incidents took place in unidentified areas. The ratio of kidnapping is very high – the people involved in these incidents are mostly relatives, neighbours and local residents. Reasons behind this are ‘marriages of choice’, forced marriages, honour killing and litigation on property, etc.

In the 3,153 incidents of violence, 3,681 individuals were victimised in which 3,438 were women and girls and 243 were men and boys. Moreover, five women were kidnapped, four were murdered, including one in the name of honour, three were raped/gang raped, and two women committed suicide on a daily basis.

Of the victims, 1,432 were unmarried, 1,430 married, 44 divorced, 59 widows, while there is no information about the marital status of 473 victims. Around 87 percent of crimes were reported through FIRs, three percent were unreported and 10 percent were without information. As many as 968 girls and 24 boys were abducted in 894 kidnapping or attempt-to-kidnap incidents. Mostly, the accused were known to victims and motives behind the incidents were ‘choice marriages’, revenge and domestic, etc.

The number of cases of abduction or attempt-to-abduction were: 90 in Sargodha, 87 in Okara 87, 74 in Faisalabad, 71 in Rawalpindi and 58 in Lahore. 842 women and girls and 101 males were murdered or attempted to murder in 747 incidents. 174 incidents of honour killing were also recorded involving 186 girls and 23 men. The suspects were mostly husbands, brothers and fathers.

In 474 rape or attempted rape incidents, 488 women and girls were victimised – 291 girls were unmarried, 117 were married, one was divorcee and four were widows. There were 75 women about whom no reliable information was available.

Five incidents of incest also took place in the province. Moreover, 399 incidents of suicide and attempt to suicide, 167 of domestic violence, 52 of threat to life, 42 of harassment, 15 of acid throwing, 12 of burning, 11 of human trafficking, eight of vani and four of karo kari were recorded in the Punjab.

In the second half of 2011, the ratio of violence against women was high in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Sargodha and Multan.

According to the report, 248 cases of violence were reported in Lahore, 239 in Rawalpindi, 218 in Faisalabad, 213 in Sargodha, 200 in Multan, 189 in Okara, 141 in Chakwal, 136 in Khanewal, 136 in Vehari and 130 in Muzaffarabad.