Women most unsafe in Hindi heartland states, shows data

  • UP accounts for 59,445 crimes against women, while MP registers the highest number of rapes at 5,450
  • India reports a marginal increase in rape cases from 32,559 cases in 2017 to 32,632 in 2018

Shaswati Das
Updated10 Jan 2020, 12:53 AM IST
Among Union territories, Delhi recorded the highest number of rapes at 1,217 in 2018.
Among Union territories, Delhi recorded the highest number of rapes at 1,217 in 2018.

In a grim indictment of the Hindi heartland, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) ranks Uttar Pradesh as the worst for women’s security and Madhya Pradesh as the state where rape is most rampant.

The statistics released on Thursday highlight the poor state of law and order throughout the country with 378,277 cases of crime reported against women in 2018. They showed Uttar Pradesh having the most crimes against women, at 59,445, with Madhya Pradesh registered the maximum number of rapes at 5,450, nearly 15 a day.

The crime bureau’s statistics come against the backdrop of nationwide protests at the abysmal protection of women in India. The 2019 rape and murder of a veterinarian student in Telangana was followed by the police killing the men suspected to have committed the crime. Also last year, Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party legislator, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Delhi court in connection with the 2017 gang rape of a 17-year-old girl in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh. While the matter was still under investigation, the victim in the Unnao rape case faced with further attack, when a truck collided into the car in which she was travelling with her family members and her lawyer last year.

India reported a marginal increase in rape cases from 32,559 cases in 2017 to 32,632 in 2018, with Madhya Pradesh account for the most rapes in the country. Among Union territories, Delhi recorded the highest number of rapes at 1,217 in 2018.

The rapists in 93.7% of the cases were people known to the rape victim. In as many as 18,059 cases the rapists were friends, employers, neighbours or other known persons, while in 11,945 cases they were online friends.

The figure is almost the same for 2017, when 93.1% of the rapists were known to the victims.

Graphic: Sarvesh Kumar Sharma/Mint

Experts said that while the increase in rapes and other crimes against women could indicate more reporting of such crimes, it also showed that the absolute numbers are on the rise, with lax state response compounding the problem of women’s safety.

“In essence, there is a lack of intent of doing anything or making crimes against women the priority of police departments as against other hard crimes. There has been no good safety plan that has been rolled out by any government so far. Surveillance and patrolling are poor and that is a major reason why such crimes happen,” said Ranjana Kumari, a social activist and director at the Delhi-based Centre for Social Research.

The overall number of crimes against women has risen steadily from 322,929 in 2016, to 345,989 in 2017, and around 378,277 in 2018.

In terms of the total number of crimes against women, Uttar Pradesh recorded 59,445 cases, up from 56,011 in 2017, and 49,262 in 2016. In 2018, Maharashtra saw 35,497 crimes committed against women in 2018, followed by West Bengal (30,394), Madhya Pradesh (28,942), and Rajasthan (27,866).

Among Union territories, Delhi led with a recorded number of 15,310 cases of crimes against women in 2018, compared with 13,076 in 2017, and 13,640 in 2016. Across the country, in 2018, “cruelty by husband or his relatives” accounted for the most cases at 103,000.

The data release comes against the backdrop of death warrants being issued on Tuesday against four convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang rape case that had prompted nationwide protests. Governments have had plans to set up fast track courts for faster delivery of justice in cases of rape, however, state and central governments are yet to act on the matter.

Society needs to work along with governments to bring about a change in people’s mindset to ensure that the rate of crime decreases, according to analysts.

“More has to be done as a society. It is not attributed to the government alone. There needs to be societal change as well. There needs to be reform on that front and education plays a big role in it. It needs to be a part of curriculums. These incidents come from a mindset that needs to be changed and education will be a key part of that,” Rashmi Singh, a New Delhi-based women’s activist said.

Pretika Khanna contributed to this story.

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First Published:10 Jan 2020, 12:53 AM IST
HomeNewsIndiaWomen most unsafe in Hindi heartland states, shows data

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