BHUBANESWAR: Odisha saw a rise in crime, particularly against women, during 2020 when the Covid pandemic had forced lockdown and shutdown. Compared to 2019, rape, dowry torture and sexual harassment cases spiked in 2020 and continue to do so even this year.
As many as 2,984 rape cases were recorded last year compared to 2,950 cases during 2019. Last year, the number of rape of minors was 1,646 compared to 1,635 in 2019. By June this year, 1,563 rape cases were reported of which, 786 were related to minor girls. Besides, the State recorded 4,949 cases of molestation, sexual harassment and stalking till June this year. This figure was 6,848 in 2019 and increased to 7,937 in 2020.
Minister of State for Home Dibyashankar Mishra informed the crime figures in State Assembly on Monday while replying to the question by Santosh Singh Saluja (Congress). Cases of torture and murders related to dowry demand also saw a spike in the period, the Minister said and added that 184 such cases have been recorded by June, 2021. The number of such cases was 311 in 2020 and 278 in 2019.
Ganjam police district reported the highest of 7,858 criminal cases in 2020, followed by 7,674 in Bhubaneswar police district and 7,024 cases in Angul police district. He said that 1.21 lakh cognisable cases were registered in Odisha in 2019 which increased to 1.34 lakh in 2020. Replying to a separate question from Ganesh Ram Singh Khuntia (BJP), the Minister said that 11,456 out of the 67,671 sanctioned posts in the police department are lying vacant till August 1 this year. Thirteen DIG, 15 SP and 248 Inspector posts are lying vacant against the sanctioned strength of 20, 63 and 1077 respectively.
Raising a supplementary, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra said 60 MLAs had proposed the State government to set up 68 new police stations and upgrade 103 police outposts and three police stations. Although the Speaker had given a ruling on this, the government is yet to take any steps. Taking note, Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro directed the Minister to convene a meeting of senior police officials and make a detailed statement in the House.