By Arjun Talwar
Edited by Sanchita Malhotra, Associate Editor, The Indian Economist
Worrying incidents of horrendous crimes, especially against women, have been reported in a multitude from all over Uttar Pradesh in the past few months. Crimes in Utttar Pradesh have not just been frequent but intense. The recent Badaun-rape case challenged humanity in every possible way. Daily headlines and prime-time-news shows have featured almost every aspect of crime that takes place in U.P. creating the much required pressure on the state government. Since the media closely follows every build-up in criminal cases, a wave of criticism has faced the ruling party. The issue of “High Crime” in the state has created a sense of disgust against the authorities.
This article is not another emotional account of the devastating crime situation in Uttar Pradesh. Hence I shall try to back-up my words with official statistics from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Some very interesting and strange facts are bound to be revealed. According to crime statistics (2013) provided by NCRB1, Uttar Pradesh might turn out to be as safe as heaven.
Incidences of total cognizable crimes2 under IPC (crimes like rapes, murders, dacoits etc) were at 226,445 incidents but its total percentage contribution to the all-India total was only 8.6. Similarly the rate of total cognizable crimes3 was at an impressive 108.4 as against the average national crime rate of 215.5 Only Uttrakhand and Nagaland performed better than UP making it the third-best state (excluding Union Territories).
When we focus on the much talked-about crime against women, Uttar Pradesh continues to maintain the dignity of its women as per the stats. Rate of total cognizable crimes against women was 32.93, one of the best in the list. UP clearly leaves Delhi red faced which stands at an appalling 146. Rate of rapes was a mere 3.1 as against our beloved rape-capital Delhi with 18.6! Even with the total number of rapes at 3050, Uttar Pradesh was better than Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
HENCE UTTAR PRDESH IS SAFE!! These facts clearly make UP a low-crime-rate state. All that was required to make it safe was revelations of some stats. Now, what about the daily headlines? What about those horrific rape-and-hang stories? Were the claims of ‘UP is safe and better’ made by the Yadav family correct? At least the figures favor the ‘excellent’ government of Uttar Pradesh, be it BSP or SP. But before we draw any other conclusion, we have to analyze the whole situation. Clearly it just can’t be the media hype which led to crimes in UP. Hence something else remains to be explained. Let’s also understand that stats only speak the half truth.
These favorable stats for UP secretly reveal the hideous hues of UP police. Crime records are collected and maintained by the state police. And the UP police has always been considered mischievous enough not to file FIRs or to register complaints, leave alone taking any considerable action. A study4 in UP by the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies (IIDS) in 2011 revealed that the average time of delay in filing an FIR in any case related to Dalits is 11 days. Hence such a situation of burking of complaints has made the criminals fearless and the general public helpless in Uttar Praesh.
The low rate of crime is largely owing to non registration of cases by the UP police. But other significant factors also exist. A large number of cases (like rapes, thefts, crimes related to women and SC/ST discrimination) are solved at the panchayat level which means that no FIR is filed against the criminal. Crimes have become so common in UP that a sense of fear prevails over the minds of the people. They have grown to become afraid of filing cases. Stories of non-cooperation on part of the police authorities have been cried out loud multiple times. Hence many-a-times people are just too worried to file their complaints, fearing that this would further cause exploitation. According to Vibhuti Sharma, a worker in the National Commission for Women (NCW), Delhi, “It’s astonishing to see how mercilessly victims are treated by the police. Victims are expected to be submissive and might get beaten up if they further their voice for justice. In 2014 alone, more than 2,000 complaints of rape cases have come to NCW from UP and almost half of them are cases of police apathy.”
It seems that we have invented a method to curb crimes, that is by not reporting them. The low rates of crime in UP were only a reflection of this successful method of controlling crime!
These are serious statements, which loudly claim that the total system is corrupt, apathetic and challenges police’s demeanor towards the people. Burking of criminal cases is criminal itself! But it seems that this is the only way by which political parties in UP can pander their interests. Crimes are bad but what’s worse is that they are not registered, hence they can never be examined and neither will the offender get punished. To stop crimes we must develop a fool-proof system to register them.
1- Stats at : http://ncrb.gov.in/CD-CII2013/Statistics-2013.pdf
2- A cognizable offence or case is defined as the one which an officer in-charge of a police station may investigate without the order of a magistrate and affect arrest without warrant- crimes like rapes, murders, dacoits etc
3- Rate of cognizable crimes is achieved by dividing total cognizable crimes by the population in lakhs.