The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has mounted an offensive on Ashok Gehlot’s Congress government in Rajasthan on the issue of women’s safety as the recently-published National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report showed that the state reported the highest number of rapes in 2021 and the second-highest number of overall crimes against women.
The NCRB report showed that Rajasthan ranked second after Uttar Pradesh in overall crimes against women in 2021 and reported the highest number of rape cases in the country at 6,337. This marked an annual increase of 19.34 per cent as 5,310 cases were reported in 2020.
In the run up to the Rajasthan assembly elections next year, the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to attack Gehlot’s Congress government. The NCRB report has given BJP the fodder to hit the government over law and order. In public rallies as well as on social media, most of the Opposition leaders have criticised the Gehlot government.
“It is shameful to see 6,337 rape cases were lodged in Rajasthan alone in 2021. The figures are not only shameful but bring bad light to Rajasthan. The law and order in the state is in miserable condition and the figures themselves are proof that the Congress government has failed to safeguard the respect of our sisters and daughters,” said former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in a statement.
Rajasthan BJP chief Satish Poonia also attacked the Congress government for NCRB rankings. He said, “Elections are around and people will teach Congress government a lesson. The CM Gehlot is unable to provide dignity to women.”
Erstwhile royal and Rajsamand MP Diya Kumari tweeted: "Shameful and scary truth!". In another tweet, she said, “The figures of the 2021 report released by the Congress clearly show the insensitivity of the Congress government of Rajasthan towards the safety of women.”
BJP MP Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also criticised the Gehlot government for the increase in the crimes against women.
Crimes against women in Rajasthan in numbers
A total of 4,28,278 cases of crimes against women were registered across the country in the year 2021, according to NCRB. Uttar Pradesh topped with 56,083 cases, followed by Rajasthan where 40,738 cases were registered.
Out of 31,677 rape cases registered in the country, as many as 6,337 were in Rajasthan, while Uttar Pradesh reported 2,845.
Rajasthan’s policy of free FIRs responsible for high numbers: Government
Ashok Gehlot’s Rajasthan government has countered the BJP by saying that the state’s policy of registering all complaints as FIRs is the reason behind the high numbers.
Rajasthan police also said that a large number of false cases are also the reasons that Rajasthan is topping the charts.
“While everyone is talking about Rajasthan being on top in terms of rape cases, there are two reasons for this data — the policy of free registration and the number of increase in fake cases,” said Rajasthan Additional Director General (ADG) of Police (Crime) Ravi Prakash Meharda.
He added, “Whenever a police station receives information of a cognizable offence, the cops register the FIR. In the initial stage, we don't see if the case is fake or not. We just lodge it. In around 48 per cent of the cases, an FR (final report) has been filed. These are cases of rape pertaining to women above 18 years of age. While everyone is speaking about the numbers, there is also a remarkable figure — in the cases registered under rape and POCSO Act, Rajasthan ranks 12 in the country.”
55% of cases are false: Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot
Echoing similar views, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who also holds the portfolio of the Home Department in charge of law and order, said on Friday that the high numbers were due to compulsory registration of FIRs, out of which 55 per cent are false.
He said, "The numbers don't indicate a rise in the crimes but is evident of friendly policing. The rise in crime and the increase in registrations are two different things. I urge that other states should also follow the policy of compulsory registration of FIRs. We are in a better position in terms of the safety of minor girls.”
Gehlot directed the director general of police to act against those who register false rape cases to discourage such a practice.
He said, “In the majority of the cases, the perpetrators are victim's relatives, known people — people known to the family and relatives. However, 55 per cent of the crimes against women are false cases. There was a case in Alwar district where a disabled girl was alleged to have been raped but later the police investigation revealed later that there was no rape and she had met an accident.”
Reacting to BJP's allegations, Gehlot said, "The Opposition party is on a backfoot by seeing public welfare policies launched by the Congress government in Rajasthan, and instead of understanding the data, they are just doing the rumour-mongering.”