‘Since Nitish Kumar took over as Chief Minister in 2015, crime rate in the state has gone up manifold’.

 

New Delhi: The increasing crime rate in Bihar and Nitish Kumar government’s apparent failure to control it has brought back the memories of the infamous “jungle raj” that was synonymous with the Lalu regime. As a result, state leaders of the BJP, which is an alliance partner of JDU in the state, are now feeling uncomfortable and believe that if the crime rate is not brought down soon, then the BJP will suffer electoral damages in the coming elections. After winning the 2015 Assembly elections and becoming the Chief Minister—first in alliance with the RJD and then with the BJP—crime rate in the state under Kumar has gone up manifold. As per the data made available by Bihar police, a whopping 8,41,331 cognizable offenses have been registered in the state since 2015 till October 2018.

This includes more than 11,000 murders which roughly translates to 2,750 murders every year or seven murders every day for the last four years in the state. More than 32,000 cases of kidnapping and 173 cases of kidnapping for ransom have been registered within the same period.

The same period has seen 1,332 cases of dacoity, 6,061 robberies, 17,667 burglaries, 97,190 thefts, 45,615 riots, 618 road dacoities and a scary number of 4,818 road robberies. More terrifying is the fact that 4,551 rape cases have been filed since 2015 till now, which translates to more than 3 woman being raped every day in Bihar.

After becoming Chief Minister for the first time for eight days in March 2000, Nitish Kumar has been Chief Minister of Bihar since November 2005 till date except for a period of nine months in between when he had appointed his former party colleague Jitan Ram Manjhi as the CM from May 2014 to February 2015.

Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, state BJP leaders said that the anti-crime plank, on which Nitish Kumar had come to power, has suffered a beating. “The increasing crime rate in Bihar is definitely worrying us as we have been a part of the alliance for a large period of time. Good governance, which was the hallmark of our government, is missing. Power in Bihar is centralised and everything is run from the CM office. None of our ministers have any real authority,” a Patna-based BJP functionary said.

He pointed out instances like the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case and the lynching incidents that have become a regular affair in Bihar. “The frequency of occurrence of crimes like lynching, dacoity, burglary and kidnapping is the social indicator of the standards of law and order in a state and it has been happening too frequently in Bihar. The government cannot keep giving the excuse indefinitely that crime rate has improved in comparison to that duing Lalu Raj. Since we are in alliance with the JDU, we cannot say anything openly right now, but the state of law and order is a very serious concern now,” a BJP MLA said.

However, senior JDU leader and party MLC Neeraj Kumar said that the reality was different. “The cases have increased due to the land disputes that have taken place because of the extensive land reforms that we have carried out. These land disputes have taken place because people who left the state due to the failing law and order and other socio-economic conditions have now come back.”

“The Nitish Kumar government has meticulously carried out updation of land records for the first time since the British rule and many of these cases that have been registered should be read in this context. Bihar police analyses every murder through 17 parameters to determine why the murder took place. The reasons are varied. No government can ever claim that crime can be completely eradicated, but it can be controlled, which our government has successfully done,” he added.

“Under our rule, if a crime has been committed and nobody has been named as accused, even then we file the case and grab the culprit. There are several instances that prove this. In our rule of law, there is zero political interference. You must look at parties like the RJD which have been supporting criminals like Raj Ballabh Yadav and Shahabuddin,” he further claimed.

“Many of the crimes that have been registered are because of the social churning that has taken place in the state. In our rule, women, down trodden and the weak have been empowered like never before. We have issued strict directions that no crime should be ignored,” Kumar, who is also a party spokesperson, told The Sunday Guardian.

BJP MLA Nitin Navin, who is also the state president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, said that the state government has been very strict when it comes to controlling crime. “Whenever a crime has been committed, the police and administration have acted swiftly and nabbed the culprit as soon as possible without caring for his or her influence or political leaning. Under Lalu regime, criminals used to get protection from the very state government which was supposed to prosecute them. This has changed under our ‘susashan’ (good governance) where law is equal for everyone,” he told this newspaper.

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