Rapid rise in crimes against women and children in T.N.

Data got through RTI queries show State achieved only 3% conviction on an average in three years

January 29, 2020 10:05 pm | Updated January 30, 2020 04:30 am IST - MADURAI

 

Data obtained through the Right To Information (RTI) Act between January 1, 2017 and September 30, 2019 by Evidence, a Madurai-based NGO, reveal that the number of crimes against women and children had rapidly increased in Tamil Nadu.

Talking to The Hindu here on Wednesday, Executive Director of Evidence A. Kathir said only 3% of the accused had been convicted in the State during the period – conviction rate in 2017 was 3.9%, in 2018 3.3% and in 2019 1.8%.

Evidence obtained data from 31 of the 32 districts (excluding Theni). A team from the NGO, which collated the data, said the police department’s non-cooperation and delaying tactics led to collection of only 60-65% of information. The officials in Theni district did not respond to the RTI application, he said.

According to figures gathered from police stations, 1,627 crimes against women and children were reported in the State in 2017, 2,069 crimes in 2018 and 1,855 in 2019 (January-Sept). The information should be a wake-up call to the government to pull up official machinery, particularly police, if it wanted to get a ‘peaceful State’ tag for Tamil Nadu.

Mr. Kathir said the number of cases filed by SC women and children and still pending with police officials was also high and it stressed the need to instruct police machinery to be impartial.

In 2017, the highest number of crimes against women and children was reported in Villupuram district (133), followed by Salem (118), Tirunelveli (115), Madurai (109) and Krishnagiri (82).

In 2018, Tirunelveli topped the list with 152 crimes, followed by Madurai (139), Villupuram (119), Salem (113) and Tiruvannamalai (110).

In 2019 (till September), Krishnagiri recorded the highest number of cases (124), followed by Tirunelveli (123), Madurai (117), Villupuram (97) and Vellore (96).

In the period, Krishnagiri district achieved conviction in 20 cases, followed by Madurai (3) and Coimbatore (1).

Mr. Kathir said only when the accused were punished within a time frame, as recommended by the Verma Commission, crimes against women and children, especially those from Scheduled Castes, would come down. The high pendency of cases in courts would only encourage the perpetrators.

He said the only commendable thing was that the State government had provided infrastructure and opened special courts/fast track courts to try the cases expeditiously.

Mr. Kathir demanded implementation of the Verma Commission’s recommendation to bar persons whose names figured in FIRs registered for crimes against women and children from contesting elections. Similarly, investigation officers, who failed to do their duty promptly, should be taken to task. He wanted the National Commission for Women to hold public hearings in all districts in all States to find out the status of disposal of complaints.

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