Addressing the last session of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) media workshop at the party headquarters in Lucknow, ahead of the scheduled Assembly elections in 2022, the incumbent chief minister spoke about women safety and safety of cattle (bulls and buffaloes) in the same breath.
"Daughters were unsafe, sisters were unsafe, and even cattle that used to pull carts were unsafe, but that is not the situation now."Yogi Adityanath, UP Chief Minister
In the light of the statement made by Adityanath, we take a look at the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data to see how his state has fared in terms of crime against women in the last five years.
WHAT DOES THE NCRB DATA SAY ON CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN?
The total number of cases of crime against women has seen an increase of 39 percent from 2015 to 2020, as per the NCRB data. However, the total number of registered cases in 2020 have fallen when compared to 2019.
(Note: The total number of registered cases for the year 2015 is mentioned as 35,908 in the subsequent reports published in 2016 and 2017. However, for this report we have taken the numbers from 2015 report into consideration.)
Notably, NCRB's 2020 report has shown a declining trend in the number of registered cases under crime against women for 21 out of 28 states. The drop could possibly be attributed to the nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state recorded a drop (8.46 percent) in the number of rape cases from 2015 to 2020. Even the number of reported cases has shown a year-on-year declining trend.
In the same period, dowry deaths have shown a marginal decline (2.61 percent) with a year-on-year decline.
The number of cases filed under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with cases of cruelty by one's husband or his relatives has shown an increase when compared to 2015 and 2016.
However, the number of cases reduced from 18,304 cases in 2019 to 14,454 in 2020. In 2017 the number of reported cases stood at 12,653, which went up to 14,233 in 2018.
WHAT ABOUT THE DATA ON KIDNAPPING AND ABDUCTION?
As Adityanath asked his audience whether people would 'now' pick up cattle, girls and women forcibly, official Bureau reports supported the CM's statement and noted a 10 percent drop in kidnapping and abduction cases in the state.
While registered cases of kidnapping and abduction had peaked in 2018 with 15,381 cases, the number sharply fell to 9,109 cases in 2020.
Further, cases registered under acid attacks, as per the data, have fallen by a 61.81 percent in the five years till 2020.
While cases of crime against women have dropped since 2019 as per NCRB's latest reports, experts have often highlighted that the crime data needs to be read with the caveat that these are the cases which were reported.