Sinlung /
12 July 2012

Crime Upstages Insurgency in Assam

By Samudra Gupta Kashyap

Guwahati, Jul 12 : Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi frequently says that law and order has improved drastically since he took over 11 years ago — “People now can move around fearlessly till late at night” — but only insurgency is down, not crime, which records show has gone up.

The National Crime Records Bureau’s latest statistics place Assam third among states in terms of the rate of violent crimes (number per unit population) in 2011, behind only Kerala and Delhi. The NCRB “Crime in India 2011” report points out that while the all-India rate of violent crimes per one lakh population stood at 21.2, the rates for Kerala, Delhi and Assam were respectively 44, 37 and 36.6. Assam’s rate represents a jump from the 33.5 of the previous year.

The NCRB defines “violent crimes” as those that affect the life and safety of people and induce a sense of insecurity and fear. Crimes such as murder, attempt to murder, dowry death, kidnapping, dacoity, rape, riots and arson fall under this category.

Crimes under the IPC too have gone up in Assam, as have crimes against public order. Crimes against women, however, have dropped marginally, from a total 11,555 in 2010 to 11,503 in 2011.

On the last of these counts, too, Assam’s rate of 36.9 per lakh is far higher than the national average of 18.9. Assam in fact is behind only Tripura, which had a rate of 37 crimes against women per lakh population. Kerala (33.8), Andhra Pradesh (33.4), West Bengal (31.9) and Delhi (31.2) are other states that have a high rate of crime in this category, the NCRB report said.

The rate of violent crimes in 13 other states is higher than the national average. These are Manipur, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Bihar, Tripura, West Bengal (22.3), Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Those with rates below the national average include Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

In Assam, the number of murder cases had gone up from 1,223 in 2010 to 1,321. Kidnapping cases have risen from 3,250 to 3,785. Other violent crimes that have gone up include dacoity (248 to 310), robbery (662 to 841), and riot incidents (2,183 to 2,347), the NCRB said. The only two violent crimes where Assam has seen the rates drop are dowry deaths and rapes. The number of dowry deaths came down from 143 in 2010 to just 35 in 2011; that of rape cases fell marginally from 1,721 to 1,707.

“Poor governance, coupled with corruption and growing frustration among the youth are a few reasons that have contributed to the rising crime rates in the state. Corruption has been almost institutionalised in Assam in the recent years, while the police have also failed to discharge its duties in the true sense of the term,” said Dr Indrani Dutta, former director of the OKD Institute of Social Change & Development.

Assam Police director-general J N Chaudhury differs. “Registration of cases is much easy in Assam than a lot of other so-called mainland states. Common people in Assam can walk into a police station without fear. Moreover, with 498(A) in place, the rate of registration has gone up, with people, especially women rushing to the police station with the slightest provocation,” Chaudhury said.

In crimes against public order, Assam, with a rate of 6.41 per one lakh population, ranked fourth among all states with a rate of 9.09. In IPC-related crimes, Assam with 214 has ranked 11th among all states.


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