BJP’s Claim On Missing Girl Children True, But State Not First In Crime Against Women
Government data show that Rajasthan ranked second on absolute number of crimes against women, and sixth on crime rate
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajasthan’s official Twitter account, on May 4, 2023, made two claims related to crime against women in the state. While the first claim is true, the second is false.
महिलाओं के लिए अभिशाप बनी मरुधरा— BJP Rajasthan (@BJP4Rajasthan) May 4, 2023
महिला अपराध में राजस्थान नंबर 1... pic.twitter.com/elrKNNyCOq
Claim 1: 12 girls go missing every day in Rajasthan
The infographic in the tweet cited a 2022 report of CRY (Child Rights and You), a non-governmental organisation working with underprivileged children in India, for this claim.
According to the CRY report, titled ‘Missing Children Report 2022’, which FactChecker has accessed, it is true that an average of 14 children, comprising 12 girls and two boys, were reported missing daily from Rajasthan.
The report does not rank or compare data with other states, a representative from CRY who requested anonymity told FactChecker. “The report only sheds light on the situation of missing children in the particular states mentioned in the report,” they said. Apart from Rajasthan, the report includes Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana.
The status report relies on two main sources of data: secondary data from the ‘Crime in India’ report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for different years, and primary data for incidence of missing children obtained through Right-to-Information applications filed with the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD), Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), and the police departments of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan.
NCRB data for 2021 show that Rajasthan--with 4,133 missing girls--ranks fifth, behind Madhya Pradesh (9,407), West Bengal (8,478), Tamil Nadu (4,914) and Delhi (4,174).
By 2021, of 4,935 missing girls in Rajasthan (including those who remained missing from previous years), 84.5% (4,172 girls) were recovered or traced, and 763 girls still remained un-recovered or untraced, NCRB data show.
When asked the reason for not publishing the report online, a representative from CRY who requested anonymity said, “We only upload Pan-India reports on our website. The status report reflects trends of only northern states.”
Claim 2: Rajasthan ranks first in crime against women
In context of the report on missing girls, the tweet claimed that the state topped in crime against women. FactChecker looked at data from the NCRB’s Crime in India 2021 report and found that Rajasthan, which has an Indian National Congress (INC) government, ranked second on absolute number of crimes against women, and sixth on crime rate.
Assam and Uttar Pradesh top in overall crimes against women
Assam had the highest rate of crime against women: 168.3 crimes per 100,000 women, as per NCRB 2021 data. Four states and one Union territory (Assam, Delhi, Odisha, Haryana, Telangana) did worse than Rajasthan, which reports a crime rate of 105.4 crimes per 100,000 women.
When it comes to absolute numbers, Rajasthan (40,738) is behind Uttar Pradesh (56,083) which tops in overall crimes against women.
In 2022, the Rajasthan police registered 44,407 cases under crime heads related to crime against women, including dowry deaths, abetment to suicide of women, cruelty by husband or his relatives (Sec.498-A IPC), rape, assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty, kidnapping & abduction of Women.
FactChecker also looked at the trend on the recording of crimes against women during BJP’s government between 2014 and 2018 and the INC since. BJP’s Vasundhara Raje was chief minister of Rajasthan between December 2013 and December 2018. INC’s Ashok Gehlot is the chief minister since December 2018.
Over the five years when the state had a BJP government, crime against women increased 0.25% in absolute numbers, from 27,933 in 2013 to 27,866 in 2018. Rate of crime against women fell from 83.13 crimes per 100,000 women to 75.1.
Since then, under the Congress government, crime against women rose 46%, to 40,738 crimes in 2021. Crime rate rose to 105.4 crimes per 100,000 women.
“An increase in reported cases of crimes against women can be viewed as a positive trend as it indicates that more women are coming forward to report these incidents, leading to greater awareness and improved registration of such crimes,” said Bharat (he uses one name), co-founder of Vishakha, a voluntary organisation working for the empowerment of women, young people, and marginalised communities in Rajasthan.
Rajasthan reports highest number of rape cases
While Rajasthan ranks second after Uttar Pradesh in overall crimes against women, it reported the most cases of rape (6,337) in 2021, data show. Further, the state also had the highest crime rate for rape: 16.4 per 100,000 women.
The state also ranks first in attempt to rape incidents (987), while in terms of crime rate (2.6 per 100,000 women), it ranks second after Assam’s 3.3. Under the crime head ‘cruelty by husband or his relatives’, Rajasthan has the third most, at 16,949 incidents, and when it comes to crime rate under the same head, it ranks fourth at 43.8 per 100,000 women.
When asked about the accuracy of reporting of crimes in Rajasthan, Bharat told FactChecker that apart from NCRB, there is no record of cases of crimes against women, and that not all cases are reported to the police.
“In Rajasthan, One Stop Centers (OSCs) and Mahila Salah Evam Suraksha Kendra (MSSK) are functional to provide support to women in distress, and these centres receive a significant number of cases. However, not all cases that are reported to these centres get reflected in the NCRB report,” said Bharat.
As an example of the gaps in data and overlapping of cases, he highlighted that cases of honor killing are sometimes misreported as suicides. This underscores the need for a better mechanism to interpret data accurately and comprehensively.
Similarly, Renuka Pamecha, chairperson of Vividha, a women’s documentation and resource centre based in Rajasthan, said, “Actual incidents are more than the ones reported. However, the mindset of the police has not changed. Women are coming to Mahila Suraksha Kendras and One Stop Centres, which means they want to challenge violence. The police do not consider violence against women as a serious issue.”
We reached out to Umesh Mishra, Director General of the Rajasthan police for comment on this statement, and will update the story when we receive a response.
Further, Bharat said that the redressal mechanism for survivors is currently inadequate, with limited access to shelter homes and protection officers in cases of domestic violence. This makes reporting difficult for victims, and there is a pressing need to broaden such services to the cluster level and improve access to them.
FactChecker reached out to BJP’s Rajasthan State Office, for clarification on the claim on crime against women, via call and email. We will update the story when we receive a response.
(With inputs from Anwesha Ganguly, an intern at FactChecker.)