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Mainstream, VOL 60 No 37 September 3, 2022

An Ocean of Violence | Humra Quraishi

Saturday 3 September 2022, by Humra Quraishi

31 August 2022

Sit up. Read these latest officially released figures related to rape and crime against women in the country After one has gone through these startling shocking facts and figures, can one stop oneself from raising question after question on the release of the rapists of Bilkis Bano!

To quote from news reports: India registered 31,677 cases of rape in 2021. That is an average of 86 daily, while nearly 49 cases of crime against women were lodged every single hour, according to the latest government report on crimes in the country.

Among states, Rajasthan (6,337) was on top of the list followed by Madhya Pradesh (2,947), Maharashtra (2,496) and Uttar Pradesh (2,845), while Delhi recorded 1,250 rape cases in 2021.

The rate of crime (per lakh population) for rape was highest in Rajasthan (16.4) followed by Chandigarh (13.3), Delhi (12.9), Haryana (12.3) and Arunachal Pradesh (11.1). The all-India average rate stood at 4.8, according to the NCRB.

Overall 4,28,278 cases of ’crimes against women’ were lodged across the country in 2021, with a rate of crime (per one lakh population) at 64.5. The charge-sheeting rate in such offences was 77.1, the official data showed.

In 2021, the maximum cases of crimes against women were lodged in Uttar Pradesh (56,083) followed by Rajasthan (40,738), Maharashtra (39,526), West Bengal (35,884) and Odisha 31,352, the NCRB showed.

However, in terms of the rate of crime against women, Assam (168.3) was on the top of the list for 2021, followed by Delhi (147), Odisha (137), Haryana (119.7) and Telangana (111.2).

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We are becoming a terribly violent lot. Together with the rising rape cases, the latest figures focusing on the rising graph of murders and kidnappings and abductions, are shocking. To quote from news reports:

An average of 82 people were murdered daily across India in 2021, while more than 11 kidnappings were reported every single hour during the year, according to the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report.

The rate of murder per one lakh population was highest in Jharkhand, while that of kidnapping and abduction in Delhi, NCRB’s ’Crime in India 2021’ report showed.

A total of 29,272 cases of murder involving 30,132 victims were registered during 2021, showing a marginal increase of 0.3 per cent over 2020 (29,193 cases), showed the NCRB.

While 1,01,707 cases of kidnapping and abduction involving 1,04,149 victims were registered during 2021, showing an increase of 19.9 per cent over 2020 (84,805 cases), nearly a lakh were "recovered" too, during the year, the data showed.

Among the top five states reporting murders were Uttar Pradesh (3,717 cases, 3,825 people), Bihar (2,799 cases, 2,826 people), Maharashtra (2,330 cases, 2,381 people), Madhya Pradesh (2,034 cases, 2075 people) and West Bengal (1,884 cases, 1,919 people).

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Yes, every single day there are reported cases of human trafficking, theft of children, abuse of staff and domestic help. Not too sure how many cases go unreported, as fear holds sway amongst the victims and their families. They are fearful of the political mafia controlling the lives and livelihoods of hundreds and thousands of the disadvantaged and tortured.

And even in the reported cases, there seems just no guarantee that the victims will get some respite. When? How? At what cost? What the future holds out for them and their families?

Another dark reality stands out: In the two latest reported cases of human abuse and also of child theft, the two accused are women. Mind you, both accused are well-connected, politically powerful women, with Right-Wing political backgrounders to them.

Both these women indulging in the most heinous of crimes! Not to be overlooked the fact that the Ranchi-based Seema Patra--- who has been accused and now arrested for abusing-torturing-beating-detaining her domestic help --- was a part of the women’s wing of the BJP’s national working committee and was leading the BJP’s campaign Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao in Jharkhand…Also, stands out the fact that Patra’s husband, Maheshwar Patra, is a retired IAS officer.

And even in the case of child theft --- seven-month-old child, who was allegedly abducted from Mathura railway station in the early hours of 24 August--- the child was recovered by Mathura GRP from the house of Vineeta Agarwal, a BJP councillor of Firozabad municipal corporation.

Police officers stated that the 44-year-old councillor along with her husband, Krishna Murari Agarwal, 51, had "bought" the child from a Hathras-based doctor couple for Rs 1.8 lakh. The councillor and her husband have been arrested by police under sections of kidnapping and human trafficking.

This is the condition of us human beings! Surviving in the midst of severe violence and abuse and torture. The severity compounds when political characters are found to be so very blatantly involved in crime.

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