There is no reason to cheer for Kerala on Women's Day this year. The newspapers and media had prepared special pages for the day, with brave success stories of women from different parts of the state. Unfortunately, the day broke with the disturbing news of the rape of seven minor girls by a group of men for over two months at Wayanad. 
 

Related: Seven minors raped in Wayanad for weeks; more girls feared trapped by abusers
 

The National Crime Records Bureau statistics also puts Kerala at fifth position in the country when it comes to crime rate against women and children. The number of registered cases of atrocities against women increased while the conviction rate remained abysmally poor. More than half of the accused walked free in these cases. Crimes against children are also on the rise, sending out disturbing signals. 

 

No place in Kerala is safe for women: All India Democratic Women's Association.
 

Rape cases in Kerala almost more than tripled in the state in the last decade. In 2007, the number of rape cases registered in the state was 500, and in 2016, it rose to 1644 and molestation cases doubled.  Crimes against women were 12,383 in 2015 while in 2016, it touched  14,061. 

Source: Kerala Police   courtesy: http://keralapolice.org

Among the districts, the capital Thiruvananthapuram tops the list with 1,678  last year followed by Ernakulam. Thiruvananthapuram (256) also has the highest number of cases registered under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), followed by Malappuram with 241 cases.
 

Related: Catholic priest rape: Child Welfare Committee, nuns tried to hide crime
 

Even though there is a disturbing spike in the number of cases registered, the conviction rate remains poor. More than half of the accused walk free and the proceedings in the cases get delayed indefinitely, denying speedy justice. 

 

Source: Kerala Police   courtesy: http://keralapolice.org

"The main reason for the drop in the conviction rate is the lack of a proper prosecution system in India, especially in Kerala. We need systems like juvenile police to find a lasting solution to this problem," said DB Binu, a legal expert. 

 

No place in Kerala is safe for women, R Satheedevi, leader of All India Democratic Women's Association, a pro-CPM organisation, expressing anger and shock over increasing rape cases in the state.  Women are not safe even inside their homes, said Minister KK Shailaja.