Despite the apparent popularity of the ‘Beti Bacho Beti Padhao’ scheme in Haryana, figures collected from the police in Rohtak, Sonepat, Bhiwani and Jind districts reveal that there has been an overall increase in rape and murder cases.
In 2015, Sonepat district reported 45 rape cases. However, with 62 cases in 2016 the district saw a 38% rise in rape cases. Similarly, in Bhiwani and Rohtak districts the increase was of 33% and 9% respectively. Jind district did not see an increase and the total number of registered rape cases was 31, both in 2015 and 2016. Overall, there was rise of 21% in the number of rape cases registered in these four districts between 2015 and 2016.
A similar trend is also seen in the total number of murder cases in these districts. In 2015, there were 64 murders in Sonepat. By 2016, the figure rose to 87, thus registering an increase of 36%. In Bhiwani and Rohtak districts there were 51 and 60 murders in 2015. In 2016, it increased by 22% and 23% respectively. On the other hand, Jind district registered a decrease of 2% in the number of murder cases. The overall increase in the four district s was however 20%.
“There are gang-based rivalries and cross-border crimes in this region. Our focus in future will be to act against illegal fire-arm holders and proclaimed offenders. If we reduce their presence, we can reduce the overall crime scenario,” said Ashwin Shenvi, superintendent of police (SP) Sonepat.
The region was in news earlier in February during the Jat quota agitation that turned violent. Many people were killed in it and property worth crores was destroyed. In the past, this part of Haryana has also seen many cases of ‘honour’ killings and shootouts between rival gangs.
SP Jind Shashank Anand (who was earlier SP Rohtak) reasons that the youth in this ‘crime belt’ is inclined to violence due to “increase in unemployment, decreasing land holding and breakdown of family ties”. He said, “Our focus is to prevent youth from drugs and violence as preventive measure, and educate girls to report crime.We have been instructed to focus particularly on the youths to control crimes."
Experts from the region say the government has been ignoring the increasing caste-divide and worsening law and order in the region and rather seems more interested in announcing populist schemes. Sociologist Jitender Prasad from the Central University of Haryana argues that the government needs to build a movement to impart “positive education” in academic institutions rather than introducing mere “cosmetic schemes”. He says these schemes are “only good for sloganeering".
DSP Pushpa Khatri, women police station Rohtak, says, “Increase in crime also means that more women are coming forward to report.”
“Crimes against women cannot be blamed only to poor law and order. They are also a product of generations of subjugation of women under the patriarchal set up of the society where women is considered subordinate to men. The vicious role that Khaps play can also not be ignored. Politicians and cops are products of the same society and thus don’t find it wrong when people are murdered in the name of honour killing,” says Prasad.