Uttar Pradesh: Crime
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
1999-2014: Which party ensured lowest crime?
What do crime data tell us about the record of successive state governments?
BSP leader Mayawati has claimed, in an interview published in The Economic Times on Tuesday , “The record of my government is before you. I have always ensured that law and order is maintained during my tenures as chief minister of the state.“ What do the data actually say about UP?
Given the notorious reputation of all political parties in UP in providing election tickets to nefarious criminals, it is quite important for us to examine how UP has performed in imposing law and order in the state when compared to other states.For this purpose, my research team collected data on various forms of violent crimes, including murders, attempted murders, kidnappings and abductions, dacoity and robbery , riots and arson, rapes, dowry deaths, etc for the Bimaru states Bihar, MP , Rajasthan and UP.
Comparing violent crime in UP to that in a well-developed state such as Gujarat or Tamil Nadu or even comparing violent crime in UP to the rest of India would not be appropriate because of substantial differences in the level of development. However, because the Bimaru states are quite similar Bihar, MP and Rajasthan serve as useful benchmark states to undertake an “apples-to-apples“ comparison. This data is currently available annually for the time period 1999-2014.
A very clear picture emerges from the data. UP has had governments by either BSP or SP since May 2002, which was the last incidence when UP had a state government led by BJP. Total violent crime in UP fell dramatically from 1999 to 2003 at the rate of 16% per annum. This period coincided with the time when BJP was in power in the state.
However, since 2003 when either BSP or SP have been in power, violent crimes in UP have increased significantly at the rate of over 7% per annum. In comparison, Bihar which is the closest to UP in its record in crimes, registered increase in violent crimes at 3% per annum.
Total violent crime in UP in 2003 was lower than that in Bihar in 2003 and quite close to the levels of violent crimes in MP and Rajasthan in 2003. However, over the period 2003-14, the number of violent crimes in UP has increased at an alarming rate. None of the other Bimaru states have displayed this alarming increase in the level of violent crime. In fact, in 2014, violent crime in UP was 25% more than in Bihar.
Within the category of violent crime, two particular mastheads assume critical significance. First, murders, kidnappings and abductions represent particularly violent crimes that any civilised society must look to limit. Second, crimes against women represent another key category of violent crime that any civilised society must look to limit.
In both these categories, UP has the notorious reputation of being the leader.Moreover, UP also has achieved the dubious distinction of registering the highest increases in these crimes during the period 2003-14. This is despite the fact that crimes in both these categories registered significant declines during the period 1999-2003. None of the other Bimaru states have recorded such large increases in these crimes.
Thus, it is very clear from the above analysis that consecutive governments led by BSP and SP have exacerbated the lack of law and order in UP. Local politicians would dismiss the above evidence by arguing that the cases lodged are politically motivated. However, this line of argument cannot hold water for various reasons. In fact, it is precisely to counter such specious arguments that we have chosen to undertake the comparison among Bimaru states. For this argument to hold water, first, it must be the case that politically motivated cases are lodged only in UP and not in the other states of Bihar, Rajasthan and MP. This can hardly be true.
Second, if at all, because of the fear of filing a case against a violent, chargesheeted criminal, it is quite likely that the numbers that we have used above are understated. The actual number of violent crimes may be significantly more than the number of violent crimes that are actually reported registered.
When the level of crime in a particular state is high, the fear among that state's population is also likely to be high especially when the criminals are known to be politically well-connected.As a result, the percentage of violent crimes that do not get reported registered is likely to be greater in a state where the level of violent crime itself is higher.Therefore, given the above evidence using the recorded number of violent crimes, it is quite likely that the deterioration in the law and order in UP from 2003 to 2014 is a lot worse than what is captured by the above evidence.
Whether this evidence constitutes the tip of the iceberg or the iceberg itself, voters in UP must be concerned about law and order deteriorating under both SP and BSP when they decide to cast their vote in the coming months. The right to lead a safe life is an inalienable one that voters in UP must acquire by exercising their franchise carefully.
An 11-year-old boy in Meerut, a 14-yr-old girl in Allahabad, a 70-year-old man in Jhansi. These are just some of the 553 people who were killed in UP after coming in contact with high-tension electricity wires in 2016.
According to officials at Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL), more than 500 persons die like this every year in the state.
The year 2104 was worse. Across the state, 692 people died of accidental electrocution that year, according to figures available with the National Crime Records Bureau. The figure fell marginally to 683 in 2015, and then 553 in 2016. Rajkumar Agarwal, chief engineer, UPPCL said, “We have been continuously working to fulfill all electric safety norms. It includes installation of loop insulators in electric poles.Besides, measures are being taken for proper earthing and fencing of transformers. There has been some decline in accidents.“
The odds in 2016-2017
In 2016, a risk assessment carried out on it's rising crime graph revealed that Uttar Pradesh was at the top among states having the highest number of violent crimes in the country , accounting for almost 13% of all such incidents. It also had the dubious distinction of having the maximum incidence of crimes against women, which in part helped set the poll pitch of the now victorious BJP .
“Shortage of about 55% of the police manpower, if not immediately addressed, may further worsen the crime scenario in the state,“ said a performance audit report tabled by the Samajwadi Party dispensation in the assembly in 2016. The challenges before the BJP-led government, which will succeed SP in the state, are enormous, but tackling crime assumes importance considering the “jungle raaj“, as highlighted by the saffron alliance and the prom ise it has made to rid the state of crimes against women.
The failure of the SP-led Akhilesh Yadav government to effectively tackle the law and order situation has a lot to do with the lack of adequate police manpower per lakh of population in the state and its failure to spend even the budget allocations meant to augment the strength of the force.
The lower budgetary expenditure on the police force also impacted UP police's modernisation, adversely affecting its mobility and effectiveness. The outgoing government also failed to implement the Centre-sponsored Crime and Criminal Tracking Network (CCTN) project. It has adversely impacted the state police's capability in crime investigation and detection.
Delay in filing FIRs:
An audit scrutiny of how FIRs have been lodged at different police stations across the state revealed that in majority of cases, police delayed registering FIRs. The scrutiny , which involved 62 cases of trafficking, rape and kidnapping of girls, showed that in most cases, FIRs were lodged after the intervention of courts or senior police officials.
This is despite the fact that rules such as section 97 of the UP police regulation provided that an officer in-charge of a police station has to register an FIR without delay , even if it appeared untrue, whenever a cognisable offence was reported, orally or in writing.
Despite high incidence of crimes against women, the state has less than 7,500 women police personne (4.5% of its total police force), something which also indicates the lack of will of the state government to address the problem. The Union home ministry had as early as 2009 recommended that the state should “ensure availability of women police up to 33% of the total force“, according to the review report.
2017-18: The ‘encounter’ era
40 Killed In 1,240 Shootouts Since March 2017
Criminals are on a surrender spree in UP following the Yogi government’s instructions to district police chiefs to aggressively hunt them down. Since the new government came to office early last year, 1,240 encounters have taken place in which 40 criminals have been killed and 305 injured.
The crackdown that started on March 20, 2017 has led to 2,956 arrests till February 14, 2018. Cops have also seized 169 properties worth Rs 147 crore of criminals on the run.
According to data provided by the UP DGP’s office, 142 wanted criminals or those with rewards on their heads have surrendered either within the state or outside. Besides, 26 criminals have not secured their release despite getting bail. Seventy-one have got their bail bonds cancelled and gone back to jail.
“If they (criminals) are trying to go back to jails, we do not mind that because jail is only their rightful place and not outside,” UP DGP O P Singh told TOI on Saturday. “The results (of the crackdown) have been unprecedented… never in the past has this kind of straight message been conveyed to the criminals so clearly. They will not be allowed to play havoc with the lives of common citizens,” he said.
‘Multi-pronged attack launched on criminals’
Police chiefs have been asked to prepare dossiers of all those on whom either rewards have been announced or are at large, the DGP said. “We have launched a multi-pronged attack. The number of goons against whom Gangster Act has been invoked is also biggest so far.” Maange alias Vinay, main accused in a double murder case in Meerut, surrendered on February 2. Sources said a massive manhunt had scared Maange who feared he would be killed in an encounter.