Mr. Rebates

Friday, December 10, 2010

Spurt in serious crimes by women

By: Salil Urunkar Date: 2010-12-08 Place: Pune

Recent Arrests in city show increasing involvement of women in serious crimes like murder, extortion, sale of firearms and running sex racket

Rising crime against women is frequently talked about, but it is not often that involvement of women in serious offences is a topic of discussion. That may now change with several incidents in the past month indicating a spurt in women's involvement in crimes like murder, extortion and running sex rackets.

A woman 'social worker' who illegally sold firearms for a commission, a female political activist turning to extortion, a young woman who cheated people after promising them jobs in massage parlours, and a corporator's wife instigating her sons to commit murder are examples of the phenomenon.

Though the police offer no sex-specific crime statistics and still claim incidents of women's involvement in serious crimes remain rare, experts say it is a reality that the number of women committing serious crimes is on the rise.

The experts attribute the phenomenon to it being easier for women to avoid arrest using their femininity and, if caught, the possibility of softer punishments by gaining the sympathy of the police and the courts.

Slew of arrests
The past month or so was a busy time for women policemen, who need to be present when the police deal with women accused.

Pournima Suhas Shinde (29), a woman from Akurdi who styled herself as a social activist, was arrested on Friday by the Crime Branch Unit III for trying to sell firearms.

The police said Shinde, who worked for a self-help group, also used to sell pistols for Rs 1.40 lakh each for a commission.

Jyotsna Khandagale, a political activist, was arrested for demanding money from the director of an educational institution.

Aarti Sharma, a young woman who was arrested on charges of cheating youths, would lure people by promising them jobs in a massage parlour.

Ratnamala Hirve, wife of corporator Uttam Hirve, was arrested on charges of instigating her sons to murder a 22-year-old man, Manoj Kasbe, in Chinchwad on October 16.

Money, supremacy

Advocate Supriya Kothari said many women criminals took advantage of their gender.

"It has been observed that many of the accused women came into crime after getting trapped in the race for political clout and supremacy. Some do it just to make some fast money. They don't realise the risk involved in the execution of certain acts and then repent," said Kothari. "The increasing involvement of women in crimes is also because they know they can get the sympathy of investigative agencies and courts on humanitarian grounds. Using femininity to avoid arrest or to soften the quantum of sentence in court is also seen."

Police Inspector Mrudula Karvande from the Women's Assistance Cell of the police claimed the involvement of women in serious offences was a "rare" phenomenon.

"Such incidents are rare and whatever happened is because of the exposure women are getting to the Internet, the changing work culture and other social changes," Karvande said.

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