Patna, Aug. 20: Crime against women in Bihar has increased about 65 per cent in three years, placing it on top among all states and leaving rights activists jittery.
The figures — surprising as chief minister Nitish Kumar claims an improvement in law and order to showcase the development of Bihar under his susashan raj — came up in the latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
The NCRB statistics — 6,186 registered cases in 2008 against 10,231 in 2011 — show that there has been a constant rise in incidents of violent crime against women in Bihar where the government says it has taken several initiatives to improve the plight of women and towards women’s empowerment. The figures show 56 per cent of women in the state aged between 15 and 49 years were subjected to physical and sexual violence.
While some young girls, like the hapless students in Rohtas, often complained of eve-teasing and lewd comments, women came up with charges of sexual harassment at their workplace, forcing them to stay at home. Cases of abduction of girls and women have also shown an upward trend in the recent past. Of the total number of abduction cases in the state last year, women and girls accounted for 71 per cent. A total of 3,050 cases of kidnapping of girls and women were reported in Bihar in 2011, an increase of about 104 per cent compared to 2008.
Bihar ranked second in the country in cases of abduction of girls and women with 4,268 cases being registered in 2011.
The state police, however, had a different view on the issue. “Due to improved law and order, women don’t hesitate in coming out of their homes. They vehemently oppose unlawful activities and register police complaints these days than they did a decade ago,” said additional director-general of police (headquarters) Ravinder Kumar.
Bihar accounted for 13 per cent of total cases of arson and rioting with 8,809 cases being recorded during the period. It also came just behind Uttar Pradesh in dowry death and dowry torture cases. Bihar recorded 1,413 cases of dowry death in 2011 — about 16.4 per cent of all dowry-related cases reported across the country. “Though Uttar Pradesh tops the list of dowry death cases, we are concerned about the increase in incidents of crime against women in Bihar,” said National Commission for Women member Charu Wali Khanna.
State women’s commission member Chandramukhi Devi said: “Women, most of who are dependent on their husbands, should be made aware of their legal rights so that they can protect themselves and lead a dignified life.” In fact, less than one per cent incidents of domestic violence are reported to the police, she said. The NCRB figures could have been higher also as according to the state women’s commission’s estimates, 50 per cent women fall victims to domestic violence in Bihar.
In the latest such reported incident, a mason in Nalanda stabbed his first wife and 10-year-old daughter on Friday before hacking the bodies in pieces and stacking them in a hollow pillar in his house. (See Page 6)
Chandan Yadav, a former Youth Congress leader, attributed the reason behind the spurt in cases of crime against women to the police’s insensitivity.