R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, July 15 – Growing rate of crime against women in Assam has become a matter of serious concern as the State “achieved” the dubious distinction of recording the second highest rate of such crimes among all the States of the country last year. Meanwhile, easy availability of alcohol till late in night, particularly in Guwahati city and degradation of moral values in the society are believed to be some of the major causes for the disturbing phenomenon.
According to a report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there has been an increase of crime against women all over the country in the last few years as last year, the country recorded 2,13,585 such cases against 1,95,856 such cases in the year 2007. The report said that last year, West Bengal recorded 12.7 per cent of the total crime against women followed by Andhra Pradesh with 12.4.
However, the rate of crime against women, that is number of crimes against women per one lakh population was the highest in Tripura with 37, followed closely in Assam with 36.9. The report said that as many as 11,503 cases of crime against women were recorded in Assam last year, while, 1358 cases were recorded in Tripura. However, the records in other states of the North East region in this regard were much better. Arunachal Pradesh recorded 171 cases of crime against women, Nagaland recorded 38 cases, Manipur recorded 247 cases, Meghalaya recorded 269 cases and 55 cases were reported in Sikkim.
Meanwhile, commenting on the growth in crime against women, former Director General of Assam Police, HK Deka said that there should be a proper study to find out the real causes of the disturbing trend. He suggested that the Assam Police should collaborate with one of the universities of the state to carry out such a study so that necessary corrective steps can be taken.
Deka said that easy availability of alcohol till late in the night could be one of the reasons for increase of such crimes and called upon the Government to review its policy of issuing licences for opening of bars and wine shops. He said that domestic violence has also increased in recent times, mostly because conflict on sharing of responsibilities, while, certain bad practices like dowry demand have also been reported from different parts of the state.
The former DGP said that in recent times, the State started witnessing another disturbing trend, that is people taking the law into their own hands in front of television cameras and expressed the view that the media persons should also remember their duties as responsible citizens and inform the police whenever they come across any such case. He said that in a growing city like Guwahati, there is urgent need for increasing the strength of the police force and Guwahati must have a police commissioner. He said that for increasing visibility of the police, the strength of the force should be increased immediately.
One city based senior psychiatrist, who refused to be named, said that easy availability of alcohol and other psychotropic substances could be one of the main reasons for the disturbing trend as persons can go to any extent under the influence of such substances. He said that degradation of the moral values in the society and loss of control of the guardians over their teenaged children are some other causes. “Moreover, there is a feeling among a section of the people that if you have money and power you can get away with anything. This is also a very disturbing trend,” he added.
The psychiatrist pointed out that loss of respect for the law is also one of the factors and there have been instances where it was seen that the victims wore seductive dress and there is always a tendency of a section of people to look for soft targets like the animals which look for soft targets while hunting.