Shillong, Jan. 15: Meghalaya's East Khasi Hills district, with its headquarters in Shillong, is gaining notoriety for crimes committed against women.
Meghalaya police statistics reveal that from January to August 2012, there were 32 rape cases registered in the district, out of a total of 94 rape cases across 11 districts.
The state also reported 146 cases of crimes against women, including rape, during the same period.
These statistics were brought to light during a citizen's conference on Women's Security and Gender-Related Issues organised by the Society for Informed, Conscious and Responsible Existence here today.
According to the data for 2011, East Khasi Hills had the highest rate of crimes against women with 35 per cent, while Jaintia Hills was second with 21 per cent.
On the other end of the scale, South Garo Hills was the safest with three per cent cases.
Barring a slight decline in the reported cases of rape in 2011, the number of such cases was on the increase from 2002 onwards.
In 2011, there were 130 rape cases reported across Meghalaya, while in 2010 the figure was 149. In 2009, the number of cases stood at 112 while in 2008, it was 88.
In 2007, 82 rape cases were reported while there were 74 such cases in 2006, followed by 63 cases in 2005 and 54 in 2004. In 2003 and 2002, the figures were 40 and 38 respectively.
Experts said that the rise in crimes committed against women point to the fact that more victims have come out to report to the police stations and seek justice as well as demand punishment against the perpetrators.
The conference also deliberated on issues which include dignity of women, security and legislation, education and awareness, awareness-building and the media and the role of tradition and culture.
An important aspect discussed at the event was the need for a greater sense of participation of women in the local durbar shnong (village council) as even today most councils are not open to women, notwithstanding the fact that the state practises matriliny.