AS CRIME and violence against women sets off a political firestorm in the country, the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data placing Rajasthan at the second spot in terms of crime rate, has put the Ashok Gehlot government in the crosshairs of the BJP, which said the state has become the crime capital of the country.
The Crime in India — 2019 data released by NCRB shows that the number of cases registered for crime against women in Rajasthan has shown a sharp 49.10 per cent jump in 2019 to 41,550 compared with the previous year.
The number of cases in 2018 — 27,866 — was 7.21 per cent higher than the previous year.
Gehlot was elected Chief Minister in December 2018, and the rise in crime rate in his first year in office, has given the BJP a handle to now call for a state-wide ‘Halla Bol’ campaign against the failing law and order situation.
Also, cognisable crimes in Rajasthan rose from 2,50,546 in 2018 to 3,04,394 in 2019 or an increase of 21.49 per cent.
Police officials, however, explain the sharp rise in the crime to the Chief Minister’s clear emphasis on the need to mandatorily register an FIR. A January 31, 2019, circular by then Director General of Police Kapil Garg, said “registration of FIR is the fundamental duty of police.” In a detailed note, he wrote how an immediate registration of FIR for a cognisable offence “reflects sensitivity and efficiency of police before the complainant,” and how a delay aggravates the pain of the complainant and works to the benefit of the accused.
At a police department review meeting in June 2019, Gehlot had said every complainant arriving at a police station be heard patiently and “registration of FIR should be ensured.” He said that “complaints about hesitation in registering FIR or about behaviour (of police) will not be tolerated.” Importantly, he said that “there is no need to worry if more FIRs led to rise in crime figures.”
So, when it comes to IPC section 376 (rape), Rajasthan tops the list, with an incidence (FIRs registered) of 5,997 and 6,051 victims, translating into a crime rate of 15.9. The national average crime rate for rape is 4.8. For attempt to commit rape (Sec 376/511 IPC) too, the state tops the list with an incidence of 1,019 and 1,030 victims.
But the registration of FIRs in the state is complemented by disposal of crimes (against women) at police level in the state. At 8.7 per cent, Rajasthan has the lowest pendency rate among all states, compared with the national average, which is 32.4 per cent, according to NCRB.
NCRB itself says that “the primary presumption that the upward swing in police data indicates an increase in crime and thus a reflection of the ineffectiveness of the police is fallacious.” ‘Rise in crime’ and ‘increase in registration of crime by police’ are clearly two different things, a fact which is often confused, it points out.
“Thus, an oft-repeated expectation from certain quarters that an effective police administration will be able to keep the crime figures low is misplaced. Increase in crime numbers in a State police data may in fact be on account of certain citizen centric police initiatives, like launching of e-FIR facility or women Helpdesks, etc,” it notes.
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