Even as Himachal Pradesh has comparatively low rate of most cognizable crimes in 2018, it figures among states with the highest rate for certain crimes – especially those related to narcotic drugs, forest laws, and crimes committed by foreigners, according to latest data released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
With a total of 1,342 cases registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in 2018 at a rate of 18.5 per lakh of population, Himachal has the third-highest crime rate under NDPS cases after Punjab (39.2) and Kerala (24.9). While several states have higher rates of crimes related to possession of drugs for personal consumption, Himachal has the third-highest crime rate of 12.8 when it comes to possession of drugs for trafficking, after Punjab (19.3) and Chandigarh (15.2).
During the recently-held Winter Session of the state Assembly, several members of the House, including MLAs Sukh Ram and Rajinder Rana, pointed out that drug-related activities in the state have increased ever since the Amarinder Singh government launched a crackdown on drugs in neighbouring Punjab. Criminals involved in the synthetic drug trade have shifted their operations to this side of the border to escape the law in Punjab and to look for new pastures, they alleged.
According to Himachal Pradesh police records, the number of NDPS cases increased further by 7.2 percent in 2019, while around 12 percent more criminals were arrested as compared to the previous year.
At 147, Himachal recorded the third-highest number of crimes committed by foreigners after West Bengal and Karnataka in 2018. According to state police officials, in 2018 and 2019, a total of 22 foreigners were been arrested in NDPS cases alone.
Himachal also has the highest rate of crimes under forest laws. As many as 240 cases were registered in the state under the Forest Act and the Forest Conservation Act at a rate of 3.3. No other state or UT in the country recorded a rate of more than 0.6 under these laws. Around 66.5 per cent of the geographical area of the state comes under recorded forest area, while 27.7 percent of the total area lies under forest cover.
In crimes against women, Himachal has a comparatively low rate but it figures high for certain offences. After Telangana, it has the second-highest crime rate of abetment to suicide of women (section 305/306 of the IPC), and 74 such cases were registered in 2018. With 202 cases of kidnapping and abduction of a woman to compel her for marriage, the state witnessed the second-highest rate of such crimes under Section 366 of the IPC, after Punjab where 956 such cases were registered. Himachal Pradesh also saw comparatively high rates of stalking (Section 354D of the IPC) and women-centric cyber crimes (IT Act).
The data shows that a total of 19,594 cognizable crime cases were registered in Himachal Pradesh in 2018 at a rate of 269.6 per lakh of population. The percentage share of the state in the total crimes across the country was 0.4. A total of 925 victims died in road accidents while 101 persons in the state were murdered, said the report.