Odisha: Registered Rape Cases increase in the First Half of 2020

The safety of women in Odisha is under question as the latest data point at an increase in the number of rape cases. There has been a rise in registered rape cases in the state during the first six months of 2020. What is more surprising is that the first six months of this year include the March to June period when there was a nation-wide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As per Odisha Police’s crime statistics, 1,212 rape cases were registered in the first half of 2020, as compared to 1,149 cases reported during the same period in 2019. In totality, 2,950 rape cases were registered in 2019. Police have reported that most of the rape complaints this year were filed between January and March. Of the 1,212 cases, around 30% were reported between April and June.

The crimes were difficult to prevent as most of them were committed by acquaintances of the woman. “We found this to be true in at least 95% of the cases. The accused include friends, relatives, and neighbours. Although there were restrictions on the movement of people and vehicles during the lockdown, such offences continued to be reported”, a senior officer said. Prompt action to these complaints was assured by the officer.

“After the Nirbhaya incident, registration of cases of crime against women has increased across the country. Women, who some years ago would be reluctant to report these matters to the police, now display courage and approached us”, added the officer. Social activists have blamed the police for concentrating more on the COVID-19 issue, and hence, ignoring cases related to women’s safety.

Notably, other crimes like burglary, theft and swindling have also seen an increase in the first half of 2020 as compared to the corresponding period in 2019.

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