No data on lynchings, NCRB withholds figures

The NCRB data,published more than a year behind schedule. Officials told The Indian Express that the said data collected under the new sub-heads of death due to mob lynching, murder by influential people, killing ordered by khappanchayat and murder committed for religious reason have not been published, resulting in partial delay of the agency’s report for 2017.Sources said the agency had begun a massive data revamp exercise under former NCRB Director Ish Kumar. It was under him that the bureau revised the proforma under the category of murder and added new sub-heads of mob lynching and murder for religious reasons among others. “It is surprising that this data has not been published.

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This data was ready and fully compiled and analysed. Only the top brass would know the reason why it has not been published,” an official privy to the data collection process said.

The decision to collect data on lynchings had been taken in the wake of a spate of lynching incidents across the country through 2015-16. The idea, officials said, was that such data collection would help the government formulate its policies better in tackling these crimes. Lynchings happen for a variety of reasons which include suspicion of theft, child lifting, cattle smuggling or communal reasons, officials said.

The new report has largely followed the pattern of the 2016 edition, barring additions in the category of cyber crimes and offences against the state.

In September this year, Citizens for Justice and Peace had tracked this non-publishing of NCRB data for the past three years.

This delay had been questioned by several quarters have questioned the delay in the release of data on crimes for months now. National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has been releasing data on crime, and various categories of sectoral data, since 1953. It releases annual reports on varied subjects related to crime, accidents, prisons etc. These reports contain aggregated data on various crimes, accidents, suicides, prisons etc. up to the district level. As debates evolved, this data even got classified into crimes against India’s most marginalised groups.

Throughout the years, NCRB data, despite some bureaucratic delays and some shortcomings, has been the most important and probably the only concrete and comprehensive data on crimes in India and has been the basis for several policy discussions and discourses. Every time the NCRB reports are released, there are significant public debates on issues such as increasing numbers of crimes against women, farmer suicides, atrocities against people from SC/ST groups.The NCRB releases 3 reports every year.

What’s in a report and when should we have it?

The data for the annual Crime in India (CII) is provided by the States/UTs in a prescribed format. The data is then compiled by the NCRB in the form of CII, which gives comprehensive data on incidence of crime, disposal of cases by police and courts, crimes against women, children etc.

Reports suggest that CII reports has been released by the NCRB with a delay of about 23 months since the year 1953, with the average delay going at below 11 months year from 2000 onwards. The most significant delay caused in the release of the report was for the year 1984, the year in which the anti-Sikh riots took place. That year 1984’s report was released in 1992 after a significant delay of 86 months. The 1985 report was delayed by more than six years. The 1983 report was delayed by five years. Reportedly, these were the only three occasions in which the reports were released after such a huge gap/ delay. Arguably, the government(s) of the day were not comfortable with the release of hard figures that would confirm the bitter and targeted violence experienced by one of India’s religious minorities, on the streets.

The rest of the analysis on NCRB data may be read here.



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