Kerala Is Getting Better for Women, but Post Liquor Ban Drug Use Is on the Rise
The official answer to a question raised in the Legislative Assembly on the number of crimes in the State, has led to some interesting revelations. The question pertained to the crimes in Kerala between 2011 and 2015.
Is the State becoming safer for women?
Crimes against women in Kerala seem to have reduced. Dowry deaths were at a four-year low in the State with only 7 cases being registered in 2015. This is a significant decrease from 28 such cases in 2014. The highest number of dowry deaths was seen in 2012 with 32 cases being registered. The national figures for dowry deaths in India were 8,233, 8,083, and 8,455 in 2012, 2013, and 2014 respectively. Cases registered under cruelty by husband or relatives in Kerala have also come down to 3,664 in 2015. It was 4,919 cases in 2014 and 5,377 cases in 2011.
Kerala seems to have fewer rape cases than other States. In 2015, 1,237 rape cases were registered in Kerala as compared to 1,347 cases in 2014. According to National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data, 36,735 rapes have been reported in the country in 2014. Madhya Pradesh has the highest share of 13.8% (5,076 cases) in the total number of rape cases reported in the country.
The number of cases registered for immoral trafficking has been 197, 210, 180, 140, and 138 for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 respectively.
From 4,367 in 2014, the number of molestation cases in Kerala has come down to 3,991. However, sexual harassment seems to be the only crime against women that has increased. There were only 257 such cases in 2014 as compared to 265 cases in 2015.
Fewer murders taking place
From 374 murder cases in 2012, 2015 saw 300 murder cases (the lowest in the 4 years) being registered in Kerala. Attempt to commit murder cases have also come down from 367 in 2014 to 300 in 2015.
Robberies and burglaries in Kerala have also come down. In 2014, 869 robbery cases were registered – the highest in four years. This has come down to 766 in 2015. In 2014, 3,452 burglary cases were registered – the highest in four years. The figure has come down to 2,872 cases in 2015.
However, there have been 540 arson cases in 2015, an increase of 87 cases from 453 in 2014.
The total number of cognizable crimes, however, has increased from 2,067,89 in 2014 to 2,57,057 in 2015.
Apart from cases registered as other IPC crimes, hurt cases hold the largest share in the total number of cognizable crimes from 2011 to 2015. However, hurt cases have been on a decline over the last four years. From 12.63% in 2011, it has slid down to 7.1% in 2015.
The liquor policy’s effects on Kerala
The official answer given to a question raised in the Assembly on the changes in liquor consumption after the change in liquor policy, yielded predictable answers. The sale of liquor has gone down in the State. In 2013-14, the Beverage Corporation recorded a sale of 240.67 lakh cases of alcohol. In 2014-15, the sale has come down to 220.58 lakh cases. There has been an 8% decrease in alcohol sale from 2013-14 to 2014-15. Similarly, in 2015-16, there was a 9% decrease from the previous year.
Compared to 2014-15, 2015-16 saw a 61% (58.61 lakh cases) increase in the sale of beer.
After the new liquor policy, a new problem seems to have surfaced. There has been a significant increase in cases related to narcotics.
In an interview with The Kochi Post, Jacob Thomas IPS had remarked, “Has the police organisation thought of conducting a research on the impact of the closing of the 700-odd bars where people sit and drink; while standing and drinking is permitted after buying from a beverage outlet? This eventually is likely to lead to more use of ganja and other psychotropic substances, that in turn is likely to numb the intelligence of a normal person in distinguishing a 7-year-old girl, a girl student and a 70-year-old woman.” The figures mentioned below seem to be a testimony to the arguments made by Mr. Thomas.
In 2013-14, 860 cases were registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. In 2014-15, it was 1,021 cases and 1,704 cases in 2015-16.
As much as 953.653 kg of ganja has been seized in 2015-16 compared to 617.886 kg seized in 2014-15. Similarly, 7.358 kg of Hashish oil has been seized in 2015-16 as compared to 0.222 kg in 2014-15. As for Brown Sugar, 1.68545 kg has been seized in 2015-16 as compared to 0.028 kg in 2014-15.
A senior police official, on the condition of anonymity, has told The Kochi Post, “The liquor policy has definitely had a key role to play. People are resorting to drugs also because it is more difficult to detect, as there is no smell etc. It is not the same as when someone gets drunk and creates a scene, at least then we can apprehend him. We are cracking down ruthlessly on drug use. We are also holding awareness programmes and other sensitisation initiatives so that people, especially students, understand its dangers.”