Husband beating in the capital New Delhi is reported to be on the rise. Police from the Crime Against Women Cell said an increasing number of wives across the social scale in New Delhi were assaulting their husbands. 'The harassment is no longer one-sided. The only difference now is the steadily increasing number of complaining husbands,' said a police officer. Of the 9,000 cases of harassment registered by the Cell over the past year, around 10 to 15 per cent were of women harassing and beating up their husbands, he said. Some months ago a wife gave her husband a severe beating with a slipper in front of several policemen in the Cell office. Another was recently arrested on charges of hiring attackers to beat up her husband the day after their marriage. She then made off with all the wedding gifts. An increasing number of wives involved in cases of marital discord harass their husbands by making false accusations which normally take years to sort out in laborious court proceedings. Litigation in India is easy and cheap, and it normally takes decades for the simplest of cases to be adjudicated. Even then litigants can file appeal petitions which can take years to come up for a hearing. One lawyer said wives were often goaded by their parents into initiating lengthy and debilitating divorce proceedings. But feminists said instances of husband-beating were highly exaggerated by the male-dominated police. 'A wife retaliating when she is being thrashed by her husband does not amount to husband-beating,' said one feminist. A New Delhi lawyer recently established The All India Front Against Atrocities by Wives to promote the cause of harassed husbands demanding stringent laws for protection against their wives. Ram Prasad Chugh claims to have a membership of around 40,000 maltreated husbands, including senior bureaucrats, police officers and even judges.