Gurugram: Citing the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB’s) Crime in India 2022 report, former Haryana chief minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda has said that “betiyan” (daughters) are not safe under the Manohar Lal Khattar administration.
Hooda, who is Leader of the Opposition in the Haryana Assembly, made this claim while addressing a press conference at his Chandigarh residence last week, which was streamed live on his Facebook page and that of the state Congress.
“You must have seen the latest NCRB report. It has been established yet again that daughters aren’t safe in the BJP-JJP regime in Haryana. Delhi and Haryana are the most unsafe places for women in the country,” Hooda said.
He also hit out at Haryana’s BJP-JJP government over recent incidents of alleged sexual harassment of schoolgirls in Jind and Kaithal, calling for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the matters.
“It is surprising that in both cases the principal has been arrested. Is this possible that the principals were sexually harassing students and no teacher knew, in both cases? The state government also owes an explanation as to why there are no complaint boxes in schools,” Hooda said.
According to NCRB’s annual report, released on 3 December, Haryana had the highest crime rate in terms of offences registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for crimes against women, in 2022, at 118.7 per lakh population. Among states and UTs, Delhi had the highest rate of crime against women at 144.4 per lakh population.
Haryana reported 16,743 cases of crime against women in 2022, against 16,658 cases reported in 2021 and 13,000 cases reported in 2020.
Speaking to ThePrint Thursday, Jagmati Sangwan, national vice-president of All-India Democratic Women Association (AIDWA), said: “We have been observing for long that the graph of crime against women has been going upward in Haryana. However, rather than putting in place ways to contain crime, we observe that the system is seen as lackadaisical in dealing with crime against women.”
“Take the example of sexual harassment of schoolgirls by a school principal in Jind. The girls’ complaint had reached the authorities in August, but nothing was done in this matter till 14 September,” Sangwan added.
According to her, incidents of crime against women are much more than those that come to light, since a large number of cases go unreported. She added that though the reporting of cases has increased after the Nirbhaya tragedy, society, by and large, continues to indulge in victim-shaming, which then deters women from coming forward with complaints.
ThePrint reached Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij for comment through phone calls but had not received a response by the time of publication. This report will be updated if and when a response is received.
A senior Haryana police officer said on condition of anonymity that the reason behind the higher rate of crime against women in the state was that more women were reporting the crimes committed against them.
“We have Mahila (women) police stations in districts where women can walk in with confidence and report crimes against them. As a proactive measure, deputy superintendent of police-level officers have been assigned duties as nodal officers in all districts to monitor such cases,” said the officer.
The officer added, “Women police officers have also been appointed at Mahila police stations to create a safe environment for women to report crimes without hesitation. Besides this, over 2 lakh CCTV cameras have been installed across Haryana to ensure women’s safety. These cameras monitor criminal activities, allowing immediate police action in case of untoward incidents.”
What NCRB report says about Haryana
Haryana registered a total of 234 cases of dowry deaths in 2022, with Uttar Pradesh reporting the highest number of such cases (2,138), followed by Bihar (1,057).
The state also registered 202 cases of abetment of suicide of women, 5,883 cases of cruelty by husband and 3,050 cases of kidnapping and abduction of women.
With 1,787 cases of rape registered across the state in 2022, Haryana was the fourth-worst among states on this count.
A total of 2,739 cases of attempted sexual assault on women were reported across Haryana in 2022, besides 2,092 cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)
Source: The Print