PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s claim of improved law and order has taken a beating due to a marked rise in crime, giving the Opposition parties a weapon to attack the JD(U)-BJP government.
A rise in rapes, molestations, murders and communal flare-ups has put Bihar again in danger of getting the ‘lawless’ tag. The rape of minor girls at the government-funded Muzaffarpur shelter home and the communal flare-ups during Ram Navmi have done hit the image of the state and the CM.
From August 2017 to June 2018, cognizable crimes saw a 20 per cent jump in Bihar. During these 11 months, the police registered 2.31 lakh criminal offences, of which 2,722 were murders and 1,278 rapes.
During the 11 months of the RJD- JD(U)-Congress government, 1.91 lakh cognisable offences took place. Between August 2016 and June 2017, as many as 2,468 murders and 1,044 rapes were reported.
According to the data available with the police, criminal incidents grew by 21 per cent after the NDA came to power again in July 2017. Rape and murder saw 23 per cent and 11 per cent rise, respectively, from August 2017 to June 2018 as compared to the last 11 months of the previous government.
Even though the crime data of August 2018 is yet to be compiled, the tentative figures show a rise in major crimes. While 236 murders were reported in August 2017, the figure touched 284 in August 2018, a rise of 20.3 per cent.
When Nitish first came to power in 2005 after dislodging the 15-year-old RJD regime, his first priority was to tackle the rampant lawlessness prevailing in Bihar. He ensured strict enforcement of law, arrest of criminals and their conviction through speedy trials in fast-track courts. The success in tackling crime led to the RJD being almost wiped out in 2010. But, the scenario is now different.
“Nitish Kumar basks in the praise showered on him as ‘Sushashan Babu’ (man of good governance), but law and order has nosedived ever since he allied with the BJP in a betrayal of the people’s mandate,” said RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.
The ruling JD(U) and BJP, however, disagree. “Incidents of crime occur for various reasons, but what matters is ensuring that the culprits are arrested and convicted. Our government is known for the rule of law. Unlike in the RJD regime, criminals no longer get backing of the ruling parties,” said JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar.
Much of police’s energy is spent on enforcing prohibition due to the lucrative bribes coming in the way. This has led to calls for withdrawing the police from prohibitionrelated duty.
Fighting crimes Digitally
Bihar Police has signed a Rs 223-crore deal with TCS to implement the Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems. It’ll link all police stations and higher offices digitally and make citizen-centric services available on the Internet. Police can get the complete history of any criminal on the Network, which will be rolled out in Bihar over the next 5 years. It will enable citizens to register complaints online and use services such as person and address verification, vehicle thefts etc. The state will fund Rs 206 crore of the project cost.