ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Arvind VermaSubscribe to Arvind Verma

How Real Is the Crime Decline in India?

Since 1991 in India, the crime rates of both property-related crimes and violent crimes, except crimes against women, have fallen significantly. While the decreasing trend is undisputed in Western nations, the perception in India is that the crime data has been manipulated by the police. The examination of constituent units composed of a diverse selection of districts in India suggests that the trends are generally similar across the country and are not an outcome of deliberate police practices. Police practices do not present any evidence of geographical bias in the registration of crime.

Role of Police in Containing Mob Violence

Group violence is a common phenomenon in India. The large number of riotous situations faced by the police are simply staggering and perhaps among the highest in the world. Politics, poor governance, inability to meet rising expectations and absence of standard conflict resolution mechanisms explain much of this group violence. Yet, the role of the police and its leadership in handling and diffusing violent situations remains largely unexamined. In this paper, two cases of group violence in Bihar are presented to assess the role of local and senior police officials. The anti-Sikh riots at Palamau in 1984 and the anti-Muslim riots at Bhagalpur in 1989 provide insight into the organisational dynamics of the Indian police and help explain police performance in handling group violence. It is argued that apart from the well-known factor of political control that affects police functions in the country, organisational matters of training, resources, communications and leadership are also significant factors. The implications of the 2002 Gujarat riots are also discussed.

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