Disturbing trend

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Mar 2018 11:24:33


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The downfall of the law and order situation in Kerala is self-evident and glaring and no amount of excuses can lessen the sting of the inconvenient truth that Kerala has to live with.


A total of 16,755 cases of rape have been reported in the last one decade in the state of Kerala, which boasts of 100 per cent literacy, progressive outlook and high socio-development index. While 11,325 cases related to the rape of women, 5,430 involved children in the period from 2007 until July 2017


Kerala may have the best literacy rate and the lowest maternal mortality in the country. It may be carrying the most progressive state tag to flaunt. But surprisingly, the figures of crime against women show a very disturbing trend over the past few years.


Blame it on the higher rate of FIRs or the lack of general policing, the large number of incidents against women bring Kerala on par with some of the most backward states and sits as a blemish on the state administration which never tires at playing up its good governance card.


A total of 16,755 cases of rape have been reported in the last one decade in the state of Kerala, which boasts of 100 percent literacy, progressive outlook and high socio-development index. While 11,325 cases related to the rape of women, 5,430 involved children in the period from 2007 until July 2017.


According to crime statistics provided by the Kerala Police, 1,475 cases of rape were reported in the first nine months of the year 2017 alone, which shows the stupendous rise in such crimes in the state in recent times.
In 2016, as many as 1,656 rape cases had been registered from January-December, as per the statistics.


There has been a general upward trend in the number of rape cases with 500 in 2007, 548 in 2008, 554 in 2009, 617 in 2010, 1132 in 2011, 1019 in 2012, 1221 in 2013, 1347 in 2014, 1256 in 2015, 1656 in 2016 and 1475 in 2017 (up to September). According to statistics uploaded on the Kerala Police website, the total number of crimes against women reported during the 10-year period was a whopping 1, 32,365.


Of the total 11,001 various crimes reported against women in 2017, 3407 were incidents of molestation, 147 kidnapping and abduction, 9 dowry deaths, 2,452 cruelty by husband and relatives and 3,222 other offences, statistics revealed. Meanwhile, the total number of crimes reported against children in the southern state during the last 10 years (from 2017-2017 July) stood at 16,624.


While the pro-Kerala lobby will always find a reason to play down administrative failure and claim that it was only due to fast-track trials, greater conviction rate and greater awareness in women about their rights which led to the appearance of such good numbers of cases, it still doesn’t help turn the situation any better.


It can help Kerala fight election battles with some convenience but the downfall in the law and order situation in Kerala is self-evident and glaring and no amount of excuses can lessen the sting of the inconvenient truth that Kerala has to live with.


Registering cases is only a part of the good governance model; it is not the end of the job. The greater responsibility is to reduce the number of incidents and make the state safe for women and children.


Lodging FIRs promptly is not something to celebrate – it is the basic and natural duty of the police to do that, even if the Indian police, in general, are not known to be any keen in entertaining complaints. But the question is what after that?


Do the early lodging of FIRs and faster court verdicts helping in any reduction in the crime figures? Unfortunately not and surprisingly they are only increasing. It thus falls squarely on the state administration for failing to stem the crime rate. No matter what measures it is taking, people want to see the results and results there are none to show.
The police fact sheet is smudged with blood. Political killings and revenge wars are traditionally rife in ‘God’s own country’ and violence has been quite synonymous with the peaceful image of the state.


Only it has now spilled into the civilian domain more aggressively and common people are suffering like never before. In the last 7-8 years, the situation has continued to go out of the hands of the administration.
While it has been busy in opening schools and hospitals, mothers, daughters and sisters are being slayed and violated. What is the significance of such eyewash of development?


Social security is the first and most basic right of the individual in a civil society, especially under a democratically elected Government which is answerable to its people; everything else comes later. If a Government cannot ensure that, it has no moral responsibility to continue. It holds true for any Government in any state or society.


There can be no compromise on the issue of women’s and children’s safety and no development can be true or merit any applause which cannot provide a safe environment for its people to live freely and prosper.
If there prevail fear and uncertainty and the shadow of violence looms large all the time, development is bound to take a back seat; sooner or later its sustainability will be in doubt.


Kerala is a beautiful place on earth and people from all around the world come here for Ayurvedic healing therapies, yoga and peace of mind. Kerala sells like only a few other places do and it is our country’s pride.
Its aromatic spices and natural beauty are iconic. We cannot let it perish under the burden of a bad name due to the misdeeds of a few perverts or the mismanagement of a certain political class. We will have to resurrect the Malabar country’s lost glory and tradition.


The people of the state must wake up the harsh realities engulfing them. They are a conscious and politically informed people.


They must seek the answer from their Government or choose better. Democratic establishments need periodical shaking up so that the dust that gathers due to years of
complacency falls off and things are seen in their true light.
By the way, this is good for the health of society and democratic values, especially when things start going wrong and the administration sits clueless, gloating in its achievements.


Perhaps the dispensation of Kerala, which leaves no chance to jump up pointing fingers at others’ follies and lapses, needs this bitter pill at this time. People will decide.