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Securing the second class citizens of society

According to the reports of National Crime Records Bureau, frequency of serious crimes against women has risen from 237 per day in 2001 to 313 per day in 2015. These crimes against women include rape, dowry deaths, kidnapping and abduction and cruelty by husbands and relatives. The high incidence of crimes and low conviction rate indicate the vulnerability of women to serious crimes. This vulnerability varies across the state of the country. For the year 2015, while in Delhi, the incidence of serious crimes against women is as high as 75 per lakh women, it is much lower at 5 per lakh women in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Delhi, Haryana and Assam have remained the worst states in over a decade. Why have the crimes increased against women? Why is such an inter-state variation witnessed in these crimes? Does the religion, affluence of a State, demographics including female/male ratio, rural/urban population ratio, literacy level and employment opportunities for women, quality of governance in the State and media exposure affect the incidence of serious crimes against women?

One reason it seems is the affluence as it involves reduction in such crimes. Controlling substance abuse and alcoholism in men lead to lower crimes against women. Secondly, sex imbalance as in the number of females per 1,000 males also influence crimes against women especially in our country with a poor sex ratio. Thirdly, female literacy and labour force participation also define the bargaining power and decision –making ability of the women. Religion is one key factor that especially combined in a matriarchal or patriarchal setup of society affects crimes against women. Crimes like dowry-related violence, wife-beating, bride burning is more common amongst Hindus. Low quality of governance, inefficient policing and judicial systems are also major factors. All these dimensions need to be worked upon and deteriorating situation of the women need to be helmed in.

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