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More women taking to serious crimes

By Sanjoy Ray

GUWAHATI, July 3 - Gone are the days when crimes like hatching a murder or abduction plan was seen as male bastion. Women in Assam are now fast joining the club of serious offenders from being just petty criminals.

Over the course of last five years in Assam, nearly 1,100 women were booked for committing serious offences like murder and kidnapping. While a record 543 women were arrested on charges of murder, the number of those arrested for kidnapping stood at 533. Of these cases, courts have already convicted nearly 60 women accused on charges of murder and kidnapping during the same period.

Among the districts, Karimganj recorded the most number of homicides by women, and significantly, nearly 50 per cent of the total women booked for murder are from Karimganj.

As far as abduction is concerned, Bongaigaon tops the list of women involved in hatching kidnapping plans, with 178 of them eventually getting arrested in the last five years. Jorhat with nearly 153 such arrests makes it to the second place. Further, the number of those involved in petty crimes across the State too is on the high.

�Broadly, if we look at the causes of rising number of crimes by women, it can be attributed to modernisation, industrialisation and urbanisation, because in a modern society with the lessening of sexual inequality there is a likelihood of increase in female delinquency,� Dr Polly Vauquline, Associate Professor, Department of Women�s Studies, Gauhati University told this reporter.

�Study reveals that when the husband fails to be the provider of food, security and welfare and is abusive at the same time, the wife often tends to become violent in order to break free. This happens also when the woman and the children suffer from extreme poverty. Sometimes, women get involved in crime in order to aid men and earn quick money as well, especially when they are the sole caretaker of their children,� Dr Vauquline opined.

Explaining the scenario, a senior Assam Police official told this reporter that it is certainly a disturbing development to see the rise in the number of female criminals and that there is an ardent need to increase the number of women police officers, especially in the rank of the sub-inspectors who are the investigating officers in most cases.

�Materialistic greed is something which can be associated with both men and women nowadays,� the official said, adding, �We also need proper facilities for women in jail as the number is fast increasing.�

It is to be noted that the representation of women in the police force has been far from satisfactory. In the last one decade, only nine women police personnel were inducted into the rank of inspectors, while the number of women sub-inspectors inducted into both unarmed and armed branches of Assam Police stands at 102 and 17 respectively.

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