Minors are becoming more vulnerable to crime with each passing year. The past five years have witnessed a steep rise in crime against children in Uttar Pradesh (UP). The National Crime Record Bureau’s (NCRB) data for the past five years shows that in UP, there was a rise of 536.14% in crime against children. While there were 2,332 cases in 2010, the number rose to 14,835 cases in 2014.
Small wonder the state has the dubious distinction of being among the top three states for its percentage share in the total crime that was 16.6% in 2014, as per the NCRB record.
In 2010-2011, there was 136% rise in crime, in 2011-2012, nearly 10%, in 2012-2013, nearly 39% increase and in 2013-2014, there was 50.50% increase in the number of crimes against children.
In 2014 alone, UP registered 1,539 cases of rape against minors. This is 11.44% rise from the 2013 data. In 2013, 1381 cases of rape were reported. Comparing the data of the past five years, a rise of nearly 71% has been witnessed in the incidents of rape.
Similarly, with 565 murders of minors reported in 2014, a rise of 14.6% has been witnessed in the past one year. In the past five years, a rise of over 44% has been witnessed.
The figures are alarming and highlight the vulnerability of children to heinous crimes. Takings a serious note, the NCRB officials have also included some new crime heads in 2014, including sexual harassment cases against minors. As per the record, at least 1,440 cases of sexual harassment with minors were reported in the state in 2014.
“Children are always soft targets and crimes against them are easy. However, since they are not on the priority list of the state government, ensuring safety of children is even tougher,” said Sangeeta Sharma, a child rights activist in Lucknow.
She emphasised that the complaints and grievances of children should be taken seriously to avoid bigger problems. “When children face negligence at home, they often leave the house. This makes them more vulnerable to trafficking, begging, prostitution etc. So every single problem and complaint of children must be taken seriously,” she added.
Notably, the total number of crimes against children reported across the country was 89,423 in 2014 and 58,224 in 2013. There has been a rise of over 53% in crimes against children even across the country and the UP had a nearly 17% share in it.
The nationwide increase in crime against children has been around 54% in the past five years. The estimated child population in UP is 885.8 lakh.