Bhopal, Dec 1: Madhya Pradesh, which has the fifth highest population in the country, has again earned the dubious distinction of having the highest number of rape cases registered among all states last year.
The state accounted for 4,882 rape cases out of 38,947 cases recorded across the country in 2016, as per the National Crime Record Bureau's report, released today.
MP is followed by Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra with 4,816 and 4,189 rape cases registered, respectively, in 2016.
The state recorded 2,479 cases of rape of minor girls followed by Maharashtra and UP with 2,310 and 2,115 such cases, respectively.
In 2015 too Madhya Pradesh had recorded the highest number of rape cases (4,391) in the country.
Asked for his reaction, Madhya Pradesh Director General of Police Rishi Kumar Shukla said the state police were prompt in registering rape cases, and therefore the number was high.
The top police official claimed that the incidence of crime against women in MP has come down to 26,604 cases in 2016 from 28,756 in 2014 according to the NCRB figures.
Besides, the total number of criminal complaints registered in MP has declined to 2.64 lakh in 2016 from 2.72 lakh in 2014, he added.
"We have charge sheeted 90 per cent of accused in crimes against women in 2016. Of them, 3,882 have been convicted," the DGP said.
Another police officer sought to attribute the rise in crime against women to easy accessibility of pornography.
Every second person in rural areas watches pornography on mobile handset thanks to low data tariffs, he said.
"Drastic measures are needed to curb pornography," he said.
Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath took a potshot at Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the data.
"NCRB report has revealed that sisters and nieces are insecure under the rule of 'Mama' (`Uncle', as the CM is fondly known)," Nath tweeted.
Fellow Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia tweeted that the NCRB data on rape cases in MP is "highly shameful".
"This has exposed the ground reality," he said in a tweet.
State BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal said the report shows that in most cases, culprits were acquaintances of victims.
"This is a social problem and all sections of the society need to come forward to deal with it. The state government has resolved to deal sternly with such cases and to protect women," Agrawal said.
The state government is in the process of introducing a bill in the ongoing Assembly session which will provide for capital punishment for the rape of girls who are below 12, he said. "This proves we are very serious about the issue," Agrawal added.