The COVID-19 induced lockdown last year witnessed lesser 'traditional crimes' like those committed against women and children whereas, at the same time, it saw a considerable surge in civil conflicts, reveals data.
According to the latest information on 'Crime in India' released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), communal riots have witnessed a 96 per cent increase in 2020 when compared to the previous year.
Similarly, caste-based riots saw a surge of nearly 50 per cent, agrarian riots 38 per cent and riots during 'andolan/morcha' increased by 33 per cent, The Indian Express reported.
2 Lakh Crime Cases Dropped In 2020
As per the report, the complete nationwide lockdown from March 25 and May 31 in 2020 resulted in a drop out of nearly 2 lakh crimes against women, children, senior citizens as well as cases of theft, robbery, burglary, dacoity, among others. Murder cases saw an increase of 1 per cent even as offences falling under the category of "violent crimes" dropped by 0.5 per cent.
In 2020, there was also a sharp decrease in cases related to 'Offences against the State', with a drop of 27 per cent over 2019. Uttar Pradesh was the only major state in the country to witness a surge in this category, the reason being the large number of 'Damage to Public Property' cases, most of them during the anti-CAA protests.
Cases related to sedition and waging war against the country, those falling under provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Official Secrets Act, and Damage to Public Property Act, fall under the category of 'offences against the State'.
Cases Of Communal Violence Surge
The NCRB data revealed that a total of 857 cases of communal riots were registered in India last year as compared to 438 in 2019. Most of these cases are attributed to the Northeast Delhi riots of February 2020. Delhi Police alone registered 520 cases of communal riots last year.
Bihar stood second with 117 cases, Haryana and Jharkhand 51 each, followed by Maharashtra (26) and Gujarat (23). Uttar Pradesh did not report a single case of communal violence last year, The Indian Express reported.
Caste conflict cases raised from 492 in 2019 to 736 in 2020. Bihar witnessed the highest number in this category at 208, followed by Maharashtra at 125, Uttar Pradesh at 116, Karnataka at 95, and Tamil Nadu at 69.
Increase In Riots
The pandemic year also witnessed unprecedented protests against the three farm laws passed by the Central government. As many as 2,188 agrarian riots were reported, a jump from 1,579 in the previous year. Punjab reported zero cases of agrarian riots while Haryana witnessed 34 cases.
Bihar was the leading state in terms of agrarian riots with 1,286 cases, followed by Maharashtra (279), Karnataka (148), UP (142), and Jharkhand (83).
Kerala reported the highest number of cases of rioting during 'andolan/morcha'. It reported 1,798 cases, which accounts for nearly 95 per cent of all such cases last year.
The year witnessed number of attacks on police personnel drop from 1,054 to 616 in 2020, a dip of almost 40 per cent.