Monday, February 05, 2007

The UP mess

One of the newspapers recently had a letter (to the editor) on page 2, where a concerned citizen was asking: when will UP learn?

Sooner or later, I knew that discussions around Nithari would turn into one of those bhaiya-bihari bash-fests. Usually, I resent this when it happens, because I know that not all is wrong with the states of UP or Bihar. I have such sweet memories of traveling (eating, living, talking to and about people) in these two states that the picture is neither black nor bleak, in my mind.
And yet, when I began to dig up info, there was no escaping the fact that Uttar Pradesh has a worrying track record (although other states are hardly clean). According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau, the total number of crimes against children in India was 14,975 (2005), marking an increase of 33.8% over the previous year. There were 3518 cases of kidnapping and abduction, marking an increase 10.1%, of which 21.3% were contributed by UP alone.

It was Uttar Pradesh that also has the dubious distinction of the highest number of child murders, a 29.4% of a total of 1327 cases (not including infanticide).

Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are together the top contributors to crime against children. Child rape has also on the rise – by about 13.7% - with 4026 cases reported in 2005.

Unfortunately, the conviction rate simply does not keep pace. It stands at only 35.7% for crimes against children (across India). Which means that about 65% of the people who've killed/raped/otherwise harmed children are walking away scot-free.

Like a friend pointed out, if the purpose of legal punishment is deterrance, there's not much to deter a would-be criminal. Is there?


varun said...

You have to see the statistics in comparison to the population of the state as well. The biggest culprits you have listed are the biggest states as well.

Anonymous said...

this leads to ultimate question of what is it that defines the human race and to the age old debate of how much role the society plays in moulding a human being
after all these crimes have been commited by people belonging to our"human" race
so what makes the crime rates different in different states ?
the first 1 obviously being Population
But definitely another factor is the upbringing

the mad momma said...

no.. that is the sad part... there isnt much to deter criminals... the odd high-profile conviction is nothing on the number who go scot free...

Annie Zaidi said...

varun: you're right. that's one of the problems with statistics. context changes perspective.
swati: i'd be very careful while making any statements about 'upbringing'. you're right in the sense that everything, finally, is about upbringing. but to suggest that certain states i.e. certain people may be bringing up their kids all wrong which leads to violent crime, is to mind, an unfair indictment
mad momma: yes, that's true of most crime in this country. the police and legal systems are burdened beyond belief. and that's why we need, perhaps, to think in more comprehensive ways about children and crime. there's deterrance, yes, but perhaps, it makes more sense to focus on protection.

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