India a crime-ridden country? That is what people in other countries feel. The Bombay High Court is worried that India’s image is taking a beating. People abroad have started to perceive India as a country where crimes takes place with impunity. And too many of them. But it’s true isn’t it? The crime statistics in our country do not reflect reality. For example, every 15 minutes a child is sexually assaulted in India. And it’s unlikely that the culprits will be punished. And crime is increasing in India.
These are the reasons why:
- The rich and the powerful can get away after committing a crime, by paying bribes, and pressurising the victims and the judiciary.
- Our courts are not efficient, for a myriad reasons. Cases go on for years. Criminals have a field day.
- Scientific techniques are not used to solve crimes. Forensic teams do not go to crime scenes to collect evidence, unless in exceptional circumstances.
- Junior police officers solve crimes. They do not have training. Some are very good, maybe even 25% of them, but the majority are not. Why blame them if they do not collect evidence properly? If they do not investigate properly? The Crime Branch and CBI is called to solve the crime only in high profile cases. By then it is often too late.
- Our forensic facilities are poor. There is a shortage of forensic doctors, shortage of forensic laboratories. There are many cases where untrained staff conduct inquests and postmortems.
- There is a shortage of police personnel. And few that we do have, spend too much time in law and order duties, and guarding VIP’s
- The police hesitate to lodge FIR’s. This escalates crimes because offenders know that they can get away with it. Petty offenders are not booked. Petty crimes are over looked, and these offenders go on to become career criminals.
- Crimes against women like molestation and rape are not given importance.
- Gangsters can use phones and give orders for criminal activities from jail. All they need to do is bribe the jail staff.
- When minor traffic violations are over looked, many of these petty offenders become bolder. Drunk driving, rash driving and road rage is the result, resulting in injuries and death. These are also crimes, but are not reported as such.
- Police do not like to interfere in family matters. Domestic violence against women and children is thus often ignored. This can escalate to murder.
- Political murders are covered up. The accused get away. Crimes committed by politically connected people are often hushed up.
- Rioting is usually done at the behest of political parties. And rioters are protected. According to the NCRB Report, the conviction rate of riots has “reduced over a number of years and in the Year 2016, there are least number of convictions on riots as compared to previous years”. In 2001, the conviction rate was 27%, and in 2016, just 18%! And as for the number of riots, although they had decreased a little from 2001, they have started to increase again, from 2007 onwards.
- There is political interference in criminal investigations. The police reforms as mandated by the Supreme Court have been half-heartedly implemented. Today, the top boss of the police is the politician. He has the power to ruin a policeman’s career. So let’s not blame our police. The buck stops at the politicians door.
And let us stop being worrying about our image. That is the least of India’s problems.