BJP women leaders accused of serious crimes must be treated with full rigour of law

Seema Patra, an officeholder in BJP’s women wing, was detained for allegedly torturing a maid severely for years, while Vineeta Agarwal, BJP councillor in Firozabad, allegedly bought an abducted child

Photo: Getty images
Photo: Getty images

Humra Quraishi

Sit up. Read the latest officially released figures related to rape and crime against women in the country. After one has gone through these startling facts and figures, the release of the rapists of Bilkis Bano comes across as not just questionable but horrifying!

According to the data released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), India registered 31,677 cases of rape in 2021. That is, an average of 86 daily, while nearly 49 cases of crime against women were lodged every single hour.

Among the states, Rajasthan (6,337) was on top of the list followed by Madhya Pradesh (2,947), Maharashtra (2,496) and Uttar Pradesh (2,845), while Delhi recorded 1,250 rape cases in 2021.

The rate of crime (per lakh population) for rape was highest in Rajasthan (16.4) followed by Chandigarh (13.3), Delhi (12.9), Haryana (12.3) and Arunachal Pradesh (11.1). The all-India average rate stood at 4.8, according to the NCRB.

Overall, 4,28,278 cases of 'crimes against women' were lodged across the country in 2021, with a rate of crime (per one lakh population) at 64.5. The rate of filing charge-sheets in such offences was 77.1, the official data showed.

In 2021, the maximum cases of crimes against women were lodged in Uttar Pradesh (56,083) followed by Rajasthan (40,738), Maharashtra (39,526), West Bengal (35,884) and Odisha 31,352, the NCRB data showed.

However, in terms of rate of crime against women, Assam (168.3) was on the top of the list for 2021, followed by Delhi (147), Odisha (137), Haryana (119.7) and Telangana (111.2).

We are becoming a terribly violent lot. Together with the rising rape cases, the latest figures focusing on the rising graph of murders and kidnappings and abductions, are shocking.

An average of 82 people were murdered daily across India in 2021, while more than 11 kidnappings were reported every single hour during the year, according to latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report.

The rate of murder per one lakh population was highest in Jharkhand, while that of kidnapping and abduction in Delhi, NCRB's 'Crime in India 2021' report showed.

A total of 29,272 cases of murder involving 30,132 victims were registered during 2021, showing a marginal increase of 0.3 per cent over 2020 (29,193 cases), showed the NCRB.

While 1,01,707 cases of kidnapping and abduction involving 1,04,149 victims were registered during 2021, showing an increase of 19.9 per cent over 2020 (84,805 cases), nearly a lakh were "recovered" too, during the year, the data showed.

Among the top five states reporting murders were Uttar Pradesh (3,717 cases, 3,825 people), Bihar (2,799 cases, 2,826 people), Maharashtra (2,330 cases, 2,381 people), Madhya Pradesh (2,034 cases, 2075 people) and West Bengal (1,884 cases, 1,919 people).

Yes, every single day there are reported cases of human trafficking, theft of children, abuse of staff and domestic help.

And the fact is that many cases go un-reported, as fear holds sway amongst the victims and their families. They are fearful of the political mafia controlling lives and livelihoods of hundreds and thousands of the disadvantaged and tortured.

And even in the reported cases, there seems just no guarantee that the victims will get some respite. When? How? At what cost? What does the future hold out for them and their families?

Another dark reality stands out: In the two latest reported cases of human abuse and also of child theft, the two accused are women. Mind you, both accused are well connected, politically powerful women, affiliated to the right-wing.

Both these women indulged in the most heinous of crimes! Not to be overlooked is the fact that the Ranchi-based Seema Patra, who has been accused and now arrested for abusing, torturing and detaining her domestic help, was part of the women’s wing of the BJP’s national working committee and was leading the BJP’s campaign 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' in Jharkhand. Her husband, Maheshwar Patra, is a retired IAS officer.

In the case of the alleged abduction of a seven-month-old child from Mathura railway station in the early hours of August 24, the child was recovered by Mathura GRP from the house of Vineeta Agarwal, a BJP councillor of Firozabad municipal corporation.

As per police officials, the 44-year-old councillor, along with her husband, Krishna Murari Agarwal, 51, had "bought" the child from a Hathras-based doctor couple for Rs 1.8 lakh. The couple were arrested by the police under sections of kidnapping and human trafficking.

These horrifying facts just make one more aware of the level of violence and abuse that pervades us as a society. The severity of this violence gets compounded when political characters are found to be so very blatantly involved in crime.

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