Odisha Saw Spurt in Murders, Violence Against Women During Lockdown
Despite the onset of pandemic-induced lockdowns, Odisha’s crime records suggest that it witnessed a spike in rapes and murders in 2020 as compared to the preceding year 2019. Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra, in a written reply to the assembly, said that a cumulative total of 2,894 rapes and 1,470 murders were registered last year. Although the minister did not share the crime data from 2019, the State Police headquarters shared statistics that noted 2,950 rapes and 1,350 murders in 2019.
The first six months of the year, which coincided for most parts with the national lockdown, saw a corresponding rise in the number of rape cases filed. This is attributed to a spurt in domestic violence as well. Most of the victims have gone on record to state that the perpetrators of the crime were someone known to them – a family friend, neighbour, or even a family member.
Police sources said around 30% of the 2,984 rape cases were reported during the lockdown period. The Police said that although they hold awareness campaigns and sensitisation drives, domestic rapes are hard to prevent because the accused are almost always known to the victims.
The police also noted that murder cases rose in the state following the easing of the lockdown in June. Most of the murders were committed due to property disputes and unsettled personal enmity. Alongside the regular crimes, there was also a rise in cybercrimes as many had to port their lives on the digital bandwagon because of the pandemic.
Mishra’s written reply also revealed that the cybercriminals duped hundreds of victims of nearly Rs 35.07 crore in 2020. Unsurprisingly, most of these frauds were committed during the lockdown period, via online transaction methods.