People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 24

June 16, 2013


West Bengal: Criminals’ Own Country

State Records Highest Growth in Crimes in Two Years


Debasish Chakraborty


WHATEVER happens to economic growth, West Bengal has achieved the highest growth rate of crime in the whole country. And this too in just two years! This grand success has been recognised by the Crime in India, 2012 report compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) that comes under the union ministry of home affairs. The report has also exposed that the state, under Trinamul regime, ranked first in the matter of crimes against woman for consecutive two years.


The NCRB report showed the incidence of total cognisable crimes in the states and union territories during 2007-2011, the quinquennial average of these five years, and the numbers in 2012. It also calculated the percentage change in 2012 over the said average. It showed that in West Bengal the overall incidence of crimes has increased by a whopping 41.6 per cent over the 2007-11 average. This is the highest increase in the whole country, while the average growth rate in crimes is 11.2 per cent for the country as a whole. Nearest to West Bengal is Assam with 37.6 per cent increase, while in Kerala it is 20.8 per cent. The rate of increase in the corresponding period was 15 per cent in UP, 19.2 per cent in Odisha and 6.2 per cent in Andhra Pradesh. West Bengal experienced an increase of 12.7 per cent over the 2011 figure.


The time period of this unprecedented growth of crime is exactly the same as that of the TMC rule in the state. Significantly, the period of 2007-11 witnessed widespread Maoist violence in three districts of West Bengal, and the anarchy and violence spearheaded by the then opposition during the Singur-Nandigram agitations, resulting in an increase in IPC crimes. But these components were absent in 2011 and 2012. Even then the unparalleled growth rate of crime points to an increasing dominance of criminals and anti-social elements in the society in West Bengal. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has often commented that criminals in West Bengal were now feeling that the government was theirs. The NCRB report has now proved him correct. 


West Bengal, once the safest place for women, has turned into a horror place for them in the last two years. That this is not an overstatement has well been proved by the NCRB data. It shows that in 2011 the registered cases of crime against women in the state were 29,133. Then these increased to 30,942 in 2012, making the state Numero Uno again. West Bengal accounted for 12.7 per cent of the total number of crimes against women in India. For Andhra Pradesh the figure is 28,171 and for UP 23,579.


True the incidence of rape in the state dropped to 2,046 in 2012 from 2,363 in 2011. However, cases of kidnapping and abduction increased to 4,168 in 2012 from 3,711 in 2011. “Assault on women with intent to outrage their modesty” has also shown an increase to 3,345 in 2012 from 2,363 in 2011. Insult to modesty accounted for 556 registered cases in 2012.


It should be noted here that the state government has practically stopped sending details to the NCRB for the few months now. But even the truncated version has exposed the kind of rule that the first woman chief minister of West Bengal has created in the state.


The state administration in is no mood to look at the facts. State director general of police, Naparajit Mukherjee, contested the NCRB statistics, saying the rape incidents had come down "considerably." He said this in a media conference just after two consecutive incidents of murder after mass rape took place in North 24 Parganas and Nadia. In these cases, two girl students were killed after rape.


Opposition leader Suryakanta Misra has termed the lack of concern on the part of the state administration on the deteriorating law and order situation as the most serious source of concern. Taking a dig at the DGP, Mishra said: "He is talking like his master's voice." He accused the Mamata Banerjee government of using the police as well as the administration "shamelessly" in its interest. The CPI(M) leader also contested the government's view that recording of crimes against women had increased during its rule. "There is no scope for reporting of crimes at police stations across the state even in case of crimes against women," Mishra commented.