Kolkata, Aug 31 (IANS) The Trinamool Congress leadership in West Bengal might be boasting of Kolkata being rated as the safest city among all the metros in the country in the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), but opposition leaders and legal experts have pointed out that the same report also highlights alarming rate of crimes against women in entire West Bengal.
According to the NCRB report, the number of acid attacks against women reported from across the country stood at 174 in 2021, with West Bengal topping the chart with 34 such cases.
Senior counsel in the Calcutta High Court, Kaushik Gupta, is of the opinion that considering the frequent reports of such attacks against women coming from different corners of the state, it seems the figures quoted in the NCRB report are much lower than the actual numbers.
“Many a times acid attacks in remote corners of the state do not even reach the police because of the political and social influence of those behind such heinous acts. As per an order of the Supreme Court, sale of acid in the open market is not allowed. But purchasing acid from any hardware store without a receipt has become a regular affair and the police administration is silent about this,” Gupta said.
Even in Kolkata, which has been ranked as the safest city, the number of ‘serious offences’ increased to 1,080 in 2021, from 981 in 2020 and 961 in 2019, Gupta pointed out.
Criminal lawyer Jyoti Prakash Khan said that in terms of the overall scenario of crimes against women, West Bengal does not paint a rosy picture.
“West Bengal is placed fourth with regard to overall crimes against women (35,884), after Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra,” he said.
“The category of overall crimes against women includes offences like rape, rape with murder, dowry, acid attack, suicide abetment, kidnapping, forced marriage, human trafficking and online harassment, among others,” Khan added.
In terms of kidnapping of women, West Bengal is in the third position with 7,403 cases after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
BJP leader and the party’s special observer for West Bengal, Amit Malviya, took to Twitter to slam Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on this issue, saying, “NCRB says WB is among top five states in crimes against women, worst in domestic violence and acid attacks, among top five in dowry deaths. This is Mamata Banerjee’s report card as HM. She should perhaps ask two of her women ministers to sit in protest under the Gandhi statue.
Meanwhile, state Minister for Women and Child Development, Sashi Panja, said that instead of making mud-slinging attempts against the West Bengal government, the BJP leaders should first speak about the crime rate in the states ruled by it, especially Uttar Pradesh.
CPI(M) central committee member, Sujan Chakraborty, said the NCRB report is prepared on the basis of inputs submitted by the state government.
“So, the actual figures of crime against women will be much higher,” he said.