An Insight, An Idea with: Arun Jaitley

Every time the Left Democratic Front (LDF) is in power in Kerala, there is an increase in violence, union minister for finance, defence and corporate affairs, Arun Jaitley, said on August 7, 2017, during a press conference.

We fact-checked his claim and found it incorrect.

Source: National Crime Records Bureau

NOTE: Cognisable crimes can be investigated by a police officer without a magistrate’s permission

Between 2006 and 2011, when Kerala was ruled by the LDF, crimes registered increased 30%, from 105,255 in 2006 to 148,313 in 2010, according to 2015 data, the latest available, from the National Crime Records Bureau (NRCB). Over the same period, the crime rate--crimes per 100,000 population-- increased 35%, from 312.5 in 2006 to 424.5 in 2010.

Since Jaitley’s visit was connected with the murder of a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker on July 29, 2017, we also looked at murder cases registered during this period. Between 2006 and 2011, an average of 365 murder cases were registered each year.

Between 2011 and 2016, when Kerala was ruled by UDF, registered crimes increased from 172,137 to 257,704 in 2015, according to NCRB data. Over this period, the crime rate increased 40%, from 515.6 in 2010 to 723.2 in 2015. Between 2011 and 2016, an average of 363 murder cases were registered each year.

Overall, registered crimes and the crime rate increased each year over a decade to 2016, but the number of murders registered every year remained largely the same, as the NCRB data show.

Jaitley’s claim is wrong and misleading.

Kerala has the highest crime rate in the country, which can probably be attributed to higher reporting, but there is no substantial evidence for Jaitley’s claim. Many states under-report crime, such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, whose methods of holding down crime—by not reporting it—were revealed in an IndiaSpend analysis on May 24, 2016.

Between 2000 and 2016, the number of party workers killed, from the RSS and the Left, in the northern Kerala district of Kannur–a hotbed of such violence–has been roughly equal: 31 from the RSS and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and 30 from the Left, according to police data obtained by through a right-to-information request, FactChecker reported on March 7, 2017.