Bhubaneswar: Despite a series of lockdowns, shutdowns and curfew due to prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic for over one-and-half-a-year, the crime graphs in Odisha showed a disturbing trend with rise in number of rapes, murder and other such cognizable offences.
This was revealed by Minister of State for Home, D S Mishra while replying to questions in the Assembly Monday. In a reply to Congress member S Saluja, the minister said that the total number of criminal cases registered in 2020 was 1.34 lakh against 1.21 lakh in the previous year of 2019.
What has come as alarming is that by June 2021, as many as 1,563 rape cases were registered at different police stations police stations across the state of which about half (786) involved minor girls. The number of rape cases in 2020 was 2,984. This included 1,646 cases of rape against minors, the minister informed.
Till June this year, 184 cases of dowry death were reported in the state, the minister informed, noting that the such deaths were 311 in 2020 and 278 in 2019.
In 2019, the number of rape cases was 2,950, including 1,635 pertaining to minor victim, the minister said adding that the state also recorded 4,949 cases of sexual assault cases till June this year. In 2019, the figure was 6,848 and it rose to 7,937 in 2020.
Similarly, the number of murder cases till June, 2021 was 782 against 1,470 in 2020 while the number was 1,356 in 2019.
While Ganjam district police registered the highest 7,858 criminal cases in 2020, it was followed by the Bhubaneswar police district (7674) and Angul police district (7,024).
The members across the part lines also expressed concern over the rise of crime in the state. The ruling BJD member Satya Narayan Pradhan expressed concern over the worsening law and situation in Nayagarh district and blamed it on the large vacancy in police force.
The Minister also informed the House that 11,456 posts of different ranks of police were lying vacant against the sanctioned post of 67,671 in the Odisha Police. He said this by replying to a written question. Mishra informed that out of the total 20 sanctioned DIG posts, 13 are remaining vacant. Similarly, 15 posts of SP (Superintendent of Police), out of sanctioned 63 posts, are lying vacant at present.
According to Mishra, 248 inspectors’ posts are vacant as there are 829 inspectors as against the sanctioned strength of 1077 in the State.
Keeping in view the concerns expressed by about 40 MLAs cutting across party lines over the large vacancy in the police, Speaker SN Patro in a ruling asked the Minister of State (Home) to hold discussions with the Director General (DG) of Police, DIG (Crime Branch) and Secretary, Home Department to review the proposals for setting up of new police stations and outposts in different parts of the State.
As per the direction of the Speaker, the MoS, Home will brief the House on his discussion with the senior officers.
BJP member Mukesh Mahaling said the minister’s revelation on the crime scenario itself speaks about the law and order situation in the state. The state has completely failed to maintain peace in the state, he alleged.
Senior Congress member Suresh Routray also expressed concern and said that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik himself is in-charge of the Home department.
He should ensure measures to curb the rising crimes across the state including cyber crimes, circulation of contraband items and atrocities against women, particularly minor girls, he said.