Guwahati, Jan. 27: Strange as it may sound, police records have revealed that a good number of “abduction” cases have turned out to be incidents of elopement.
According to figures available with the State Crime Records Bureau, out of a total of 3,812 abduction cases registered in Assam in 2012, a whopping 2,963 cases pertain to elopement.
The same year, the number of abductions for was 196, for ransom 56, for revenge 36, for prostitution 42, for sale two and for other reasons 517.
“Similar was the trend in 2013 too, though the figures are still under compilation,” an official source told The Telegraph.
“Though a hue and cry has been raised about rise in abductions in the state, if we minutely analyse the crime figures, we will see that majority of these were elopement for marriage, most of which later ended in compromise between the families of the couple,” he said.
He said during investigation into such cases, it was often found out that whenever a young girl eloped with her “chosen mate”, her parents lodge a case of abduction. “When a girl elopes with a boy it causes social embarrassment to her parents. In many cases, they lodge the FIR with the police saying that the girl has been abducted and at that point of time the police also don’t have any other option but to rely on the FIR and register an abduction case,” the source said.
“When we track down the couple, the girl tells us that she had never been abducted. Instead, she had willingly left home with her boyfriend as her parents were aga- inst the relationship,” he said.
The source said such cases are on the rise because girls and boys are increasingly taking an independent stand on marriage, while the parents are not yet ready for this.
This data also gives an impression that crimes against women are on the rise. But these are not typical crimes committed against women unless the girl is a minor or enticed with a false promise of marriage in order to have a physical relationship, the source added.
Rape, molestation and harassment for dowry, among others, are usually considered as crimes against women. “Although a large number of the cases we receive pertain to elopement, we treat each of them with seriousness. But if the girl is an adult and had willingly gone with her boyfriend, we can’t do much about that,” the source said.
“In cases where the victim is underage, her consent would be immaterial and the boy could be prosecuted for abduction,” he said. “In case of underage girls, if she elopes with a boy after being enticed, and they subsequently have a physical relationship, the boy could be also booked for rape.”
If the girl is below 18 years, it has been observed that the police slap a case under Section 361 of the IPC, accusing the boy of abducting her from her lawful guardian. If she has attained the age of 18, then the parents lodge a complaint under Section 362, accusing the boy of abducting their daughter by deceit.
Sometimes, the FIR is also lodged under Section 366, alleging that the girl has been abducted to force her to marry the boy.