At parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs meet, members flag various incidents in State

The Uttar Pradesh police on Wednesday informed the parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs that the number of cases of crime against women have reduced in the State, even as many members flagged various incidents, include the gang rape and subsequent death of a 19-year-old Dalit in Hathras in September last.

This was the 5th meeting of the committee headed by senior Congress leader Anand Sharma on Atrocities and Crimes against Women Children.

Sources said a BJP member of the committee pointed out that the number of cases may have been dipping simply due to the police’s reluctance to register complaints. “The BJP MP said and rightly so, that when the government doesn’t register cases, naturally the number of cases will decline,” a member said.

Even in the Hathras case, the family had to struggle to get the police file an FIR and in the initial investigation, the police insisted that the girl had not been raped contrary to her own statement, before her death, two weeks after the incident.

Mr. Sharma, however said the case had been transferred to the CBI and was no longer under the police’s jurisdiction.

Zero FIR

The committee members said the U.P. police, unlike other States have not registered a single zero FIR. A zero FIR can be registered in any police station irrespective of where the incident took place. The provision of Zero FIR came up as recommendation in Justice Verma Committee Report in the new Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, devised after the December 2012 gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in the territory.

In Wednesday’s meeting, representatives from the Rajasthan police and administration were also present. So far, the committee has had five meetings on the subject. It has met four State governments- Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, U.P. and Maharashtra. The West Bengal government refused to send its representatives after it had a spat with the Union Home Ministry over forcible transfer of three IPS officers. The Chief Secretary and the DGP of Haryana also could not attend the Wednesday meeting, citing the ongoing farmers’ protest.

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