To Haryanvis, rising crime is a lived reality and they can feel it with hardly any day passing without some murder, theft, rape or other crimes taking place in their surroundings. The situation is certainly more worrisome in NCR districts abutting Delhi and one can’t help but blame the pandemic for making matters worse.
The statistics for 2020 recently released by the Ministry of Home Affairs in its annual National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report has only affirmed what the newspaper reports over the last one year have been telling us.
The most striking failure of the state administration is in chargesheeting rate, 39.7, while the national average stood at 85.2, more than double that of Haryana’s. Only Manipur and Meghalaya fared worse at the rate of 23.5 and 23.8 respectively. Kerala (98.4) and Gujarat (98.3) topped the list. The figures are for crimes registered under both Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws (SLL). The chargesheeting fact has been included for the first time in the NCRB report and is a good proxy for police performance.
“The case registration rate of Haryana is much better than that of Punjab, but chargesheeting rate going down is puzzling. The reasons must be plenty, apart from the Covid-19 pandemic,” a former Haryana DGP, who wished not to be identified, told Hindustan Times.
In absolute numbers, total IPC and SLL crimes in Haryana stood at 192,395 in 2020, an increase of 15.66 per cent over crimes in 2019, most of this is due to a rise in SLL crimes which jumped from 55,013 to 89,119 whereas IPC crimes reduced marginally from 111,303 to 103,276. To put it in perspective, total crimes in Punjab were only 82,875.
“Certain States like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, etc. have provided the citizen friendly service of Online Registration of FIR under certain category of offences like ‘Vehicle Theft’ and ‘Other Thefts’. As this may have increased the crime reporting under such heads in these States, they become statistically non‐comparable with other States not having such online registration facility,” reads the NCRB report.
But even comparing with states like Uttar Pradesh and Delhi who also have online registration facility, Haryana’s crime rate is much higher.
In murders, Haryana’s rate (murders per lakh of population) is 3.9, second-highest in the country with only Jharkhand (4.2) ahead of it. In ‘causing death by negligence’, it’s third-worst state behind Telangana and Chhattisgarh.
In dowry deaths, it shares the ignominy of being the worst state in the country with Bihar, and rate for both is 1.8. It's at bottom in ‘abetment of suicide‘ with rate of 2.1 whereas national average is only 0.7. In sexual harassment (section 354A IPC), it has the worst rate (6.5) in the country (national average is only 2.6).
In rape, the rate is in double digits in Haryana (10), only state apart from Rajasthan (13.9) to be this unsafe for women. Out of 1,373 total rape cases in Haryana, 163 were gang rapes — third highest after Rajasthan (941) and Uttar Pradesh (271). That would mean that in gang rape rate per lakh population, the state was only second to Rajasthan.
In kidnapping and abduction also, Haryana stands at second place and is the only state with crime rate in double digits (10.1) apart from Assam (19.9). Ditto for rate of offences against public tranquillity where it (13.7) stands only behind Kerala (18.5).
In theft, it tops the list with rate of 70.7 which is far higher than even second rank holder Mizoram (56) and third-ranker Maharashtra (45.1). National average is only 23.8.
What’s interesting is that under most of the crime heads, while different states perform badly on different crimes, Haryana consistently ranks at the top. It seems to be a constant bad boy. More interestingly, when it comes to crimes, it is found standing with much poorer states like Bihar, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh or Assam when on economic parameters like gross domestic product (GDP) growth and per capita income, it’s one of the most prosperous states in the country. If the increasing trend in crime is not arrested, sooner or later it will have negative impact on the business climate as well.
It’s time that Haryana government and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar cracked down hard on criminals and make police more accountable.
What also needs to be made clear is that the poor crime statistics in Haryana today are not something that can be attributed specifically and only to the current dispensation though overall crime rate has increased in the last five years. The state has had a terrible record for long.
In 2015, rate of total cognizable crimes under IPC and SLL were 310.4 and 174.6 respectively which have increased to 353.5 and 305.1 in 2020. The biggest jump has been in SLL crimes as the overall figures also attest to.
In 2015, murder rate was 3.7, only marginally better than the current 3.9 and rape crime rate has moved up from 8.6 to 10. In kidnapping and abduction, there is improvement from 12.9 in 2015 to 10.1 in 2020. Similar improvement has been observed in theft rate which has gone down from 75.7 to 70.7. Dowry death rate is only marginally improved from 1.9 to 1.8 and so on. While there has been improvement in some areas, crime under certain heads has worsened but overall situation remains largely unchanged. No government, including the current one, can be credited for being serious about tackling crime in the state.
Congress party has taken the Khattar government to task for terrible crime statistics. However as the 2015 figures show, its own government did not create a paradise, and in fact it was worse on various criteria. Nevertheless, Chief Minister Khattar needs to get serious about implementing the law of the land in letter and spirit and put fear of law in the minds of criminals. Their free run must end if the state has to remain a hub of prosperity.
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