Crimes against women in India up 15% in 2021 as Delhi remains the most unsafe city

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Crimes against women in India increased sharply by 15 per cent in 2021 compared to the previous year, according to new government data.

A total 428,278 cases of crimes against women were registered in 2021, a 15.3 per cent increase from 2020 when 371,503 cases were recorded, according to an annual report from the Indian government’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released on Monday.

The report noted that domestic violence cases had soared and contributed to the greatest share of crimes against women. Many countries have seen rises in domestic violence during pandemic-incuced lockdowns, and India suffered a devastating wave of the Delta variant of Covid in 2021.

Cases registered under “Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives” consisted of 31.8 per cent of such crimes, followed by “Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty” at 20.8 per cent.

“Kidnapping & Abduction of Women” contributed 17.6 per cent of the cases and “rape” contributed 7.4 per cent.

The crime rate registered per million women had also surged to 64.5 in 2021, compared to 56.5 the year before.

The national capital Delhi remains the most unsafe city for women in India, the report noted, and has recorded the greatest number of crimes out of all 19 metropolitan cities.

Delhi recorded more than a 40 per cent increase in crimes against women in 2021, with 13,892 cases, a sharp surge when compared to 9,782 cases from 2020.

The report added that the capital accounted for 32.2 per cent of the total 43,414 crimes recorded across all 19 metro cities.

India’s financial capital Mumbai recorded the second greatest number of crimes among the metro cities with 5,543 cases, followed by Bengaluru with 3,127 cases.

Of the states, Uttar Pradesh, which is the most populous, had the greatest number of such crimes, with 56,083 cases last year.

UP was followed by the states of Rajasthan (40,738 cases), Maharashtra (39,526) West Bengal (35,884) and Odisha (31,352).

The agency had noted in last year’s report that crimes against women had dipped by 8 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019.

The NCRB had cited Covid lockdown measures for the dip.

The current report was met with backlash from the country’s political opposition which attacked Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for not acting on crimes against women.

The government has also faced severe backlash after 11 men convicted of the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of her relatives in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots were released earlier this month as the country celebrated its 75th year of indepenence.

In his Independence Day speech this year, Mr Modi pledged to empower women.

One of the government’s flagship programmes also include “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” or “Save daughters, educate daughters”, that promises to uplift women.