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Crimes against women

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HT reports:

[Mumbai]1. saw 89 cases of rape and molestation registered with the police in 180 days (between November 2010 and April 2011). The situation is worse across Maharashtra, with four rape and molestation cases being registered every day. The latest data accessed by Hindustan Times from the state home department shows that Mumbai has seen a 15% increase in the number of rape and molestation cases in the past six months, compared to 77 from May to October 2010.

If one were to assume that one state is not more prone to crimes against women than another, then the number of crimes of this kind should be proportional to the population of the state. Indeed, departures from such a computation would reveal whether some states are systematically more violent towards women than others.

The 2011 census of India shows that Maharashtra is the second most populous state with 112 million people and UP has a population of 200 million. So, given HT’s figures, one might be led to estimate that there would be about 7 such cases per day in UP. Previous reports would lead us to believe that the numbers are substantially lower.

So, contrary to expectations, one may be forced to conclude that Maharashtra experiences about thrice as much violence against women than UP.

This is so extreme that one is led instead to question the media’s accuracy in reports such as this (HT) or this (NDTV) or this (IBN) or this (Hindu). Is it more likely that Maharashtra is incredibly more unsafe for women than other parts of India, or that the media gives in to the easy way of reporting what opposition politicians say about Mayawati without checking the facts?

It would be interesting to have state-wise (even district-wise) statistics of crimes of violence over the same time period. Then by checking rates of crimes per head of population, one may be able to pinpoint social trends (such as abnormal crime rates or possible under-reporting) which need to be addressed.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

July 12, 2011 at 3:30 am

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