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Monday, June 7, 2010

Edition 22: Pune cops unfair to fairer sex

Even as they continue to step up vigilance to arrest an alarming rise in sex crimes in the city, Pune Police have drawn flak from women's groups for purportedly seeking to downplay the issue.
What has agitated the women activists is a survey released by police, which claims that as per their statistics over 70% of the rape cases were filed belatedly by the victims who first agreed to consensual sex act and later chose to file complaints when the promise of marriage was not kept by the accused men.
Addressing a meeting of women's organisations convened here last week to discuss security measures being implemented by police to curb sex crimes, a senior police official contended that a majority of rape cases registered were "fall out of love affairs".
Complaints in such episodes were lodged after considerable delay and this made the job of gathering evidence difficult for the investigators, he argued.
This contention was later supported by DCP (Crime) Anil Kumbhare citing statistics over the last couple of years.
The officials claimed that the statistics showed cases of harassment filed by women had actually dropped in the city.
However, the police claim has not gone down well with representatives of women who have raised doubts over the conclusions drawn by the law enforcing machinery.
Questioning the findings, Kiran Moghe, who heads the Pune unit of All India Democratic Women's Association, said the police survey also mentioned that most of the cases that fell under the category of consensual sex involved underage girls.
"If that is true, then it is a contradiction as sex with minor should be considered as a rape because the consent aspect in such cases is void," she said.
Moghe rubbished the police statistics and said lack of sensitivity on part of authorities while handling complaints of sexual assault on women could have resulted in registration of less number of cases during the period under reference.
Apart from an increased number of sex crimes, the city has also witnessed a spurt in the cases of domestic violence, she added. "A liberalised liquor policy in Maharashtra could be a contributory factor to this malady."
Echoing her views, Neelam Gorhe, Shiv Sena MLC who has been associated with a women's cell, "Stree Adhar Kendra", for the last three decades, said she could not agree with the police version of nature of rape cases emanating from failed love affairs and betrayals.
"One needs to ponder over as to why police are releasing this kind of survey when the whole law and order machinery in the city has come under a scanner following a series of rapes reported in last one and a half months."
It could well be a ploy to divert the public's attention from their own failure to curb crime against women, said Gorhe, who has demanded removal of Police commissioner Satyapal Singh.

Kiran Muzumdar-A Role Model
Successful Indian entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, who recently made it to the 2010 Times 100 list, has funded to launch a new fellowship on cancer research in India at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Announced early this week during her visit to Boston, the Mazumdar-Shaw International Oncology Fellows Programme is a high-impact, bilateral collaboration with India focusing on cancer research training as its cornerstone. Funded by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chair and managing director of Biocon, one of India's largest biotechnology firms, the fellowship will bring Indian scientists to MIT to train for two years.

Those researchers will then return to India to help jump-start cancer research programs there. It's broader mission is to build India's position as an intellectual hub for oncology research from which significant advances are expected to emerge.

The programme offers opportunities for postdoctoral scientists, engineers and physicians to undertake cancer research at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, working at the interfaces between biology/medicine and the diverse fields of mathematics, engineering, computer science and the physical and chemical sciences.

"As an entrepreneur whose company is pursuing cancer research, I am acutely aware of the need to augment cancer research in the country at a basic scientific level," Mazumdar-Shaw said in a statement.

"If we are to develop new onco-therapies for Indian patients, we must create a strong research ethos amongst the medical and scientific communities engaged in the area of cancer," she said.

Green Exercise-Good For Health
Researchers claim that just five minutes of exercise in a "green space" such as a park can boost mental health.

There is growing evidence that combining activities such as walking or cycling with nature boosts well-being. In the latest analysis, British researchers looked at evidence from 1,250 people in 10 studies and found fast improvements in mood and self-esteem.

The study in the Environmental Science and Technology journal suggested the strongest impact was on young people. The research looked at many different outdoor activities including walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming in locations such as a park, garden or nature trail.

The biggest effect was seen within just five minutes. Looking at men and women of different ages, the researchers found the health changes - physical and mental - were particularly strong in the young and the mentally-ill.

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