Wednesday, 19 June, 2024

Crimes galore in the time of coronavirus lockdown


By Purushottam P. Khatri
Kathmandu, June 28: Believe it or not, over 5,000 crimes including 1,482 cases of suicide were registered in the 83 days of lockdown, from March 24 to June 14.
In lockdown, people had to stay indoors unless in emergency, and committing crime never falls in the category of emergency. But it was not so in Nepal. At least the criminals continued their businesses; the police records testified this.
Also lockdown did not prevent the mentally depressed persons from committing suicide. Cases of sexual abuse and rape continued to make news headlines as well.
The government relaxed the lockdown allowing the government and private offices and businesses to operate from June 15 although private vehicles started plying from June 7.
In a police record of the crime chart of the last 83 days from March 24 to June 14, Nepal Police registered a total of 5,322 different crimes of different nature in all the seven States, with 657 in the Kathmandu Valley alone.
According to the State-wise crime chart, the largest number of criminal cases were registered in State 2 at 1,029 followed by 813 cases in State 1.
Similarly, State 5 registered 803 cases, Bagmati State 679, Gandaki State 634, Sudurpaschim 440 and Karnali State 265 cases respectively in the 94 days of lockdown.
Of eight various types of crimes in police chart, suicide-related cases topped the list, according to Deputy Inspector General and spokesperson at the Police Headquarters Niraj Bahadur Shahi.
The Headquarters has mainly been keeping criminal records under eight different categories: murder, suicide, theft, organised and financial, social, crimes relating to women and children, vehicular and miscellaneous.
Among these categories, suicide-related category has hit the crime chart with 1,482 suicide cases. Of them, 1,237 killed themselves by hanging, 215 by taking poison and 11 by jumping into the rivers or ponds.
Of the total suicide cases, 95 were recorded in the Kathmandu Valley, and of them 77 killed themselves by hanging, 17 taking poison, and one by jumping, according to DIG Shahi.
State-wise, the highest number of suicide cases was recorded in State 5 in the 93 days of lockdown with 300 total cases. Of them, 243 killed self by hanging and 54 by consuming poison.
Similarly, Bagmati and State 1 registered equal number of suicide cases at 243. State 2, Gandaki State, Karnali and Sudurpaschim State registered 201, 160, 90 and 150 suicide cases during the lockdown period.
Under life-related (murder and murder attempt) cases, a total of 1,202 cases were registered across the country. Of them, 110 were registered in the Kathmandu Valley alone. Out of 110 cases, 86 were accidental deaths, 11 cases relating to various aspects of life, nine attempted murder, and three murder cases.
The highest number of life-related cases were registered in State 2 with 218 cases followed by State 5 with 201 cases. Karnali State registered the least number of life-related cases with just 57, according to the record.
Under different types of life-related crimes, the highest number were registered under accidental (Bhabitabya) topic with 646 cases, out of 1,202 total.
Also, in the Valley, 32 theft cases were registered and among them, 21 were general thefts, eight were thefts by dacoits, and three vehicle thefts. In all the seven States, 180 theft cases were registered.
Under organised and financial crime category, 428 cases were registered, and among them State 2 registered the highest number of cases relating to organised and financial crimes at 156.
The Kathmandu Valley witnessed 35 such cases. Of them, 13 were related to extortion, 10 drug abuse, five gambling and betting, three black marketeering, two arms and ammunition, one abduction and one tempering of government stamps and letter pads.
Also, 902 cases were registered under the social crime category. The Kathmandu Valley registered 130 cases social crime. Similarly, State 2 had 237, Gandaki State had 138, State 1 saw 106, State 5 saw 101, Bagmati State saw 75 excluding the Kathmandu Valley, Sudurpaschim State saw 62, and Karnali State 53.
Likewise, 638 cases were registered under women and children related crime category during the lockdown. Out of total, 39 cases were registered in the Valley, 25 rape charges, seven rape attempts, four pedophile,

and case each related to child marriage, polygamy, and human trafficking.
In the lockdown period, a total of 402 rape cases were registered in all the States with highest number of cases – 90 - in State 1. Police said 111 attempted rape cases were filed during the period.
However, not a single case of violence against women was registered in the lockdown period, said police.
Likewise, under miscellaneous category, 272 cases were filed in all the States. Of the total 194 miscellaneous cases registered in the Valley, 177 cases were related to banking frauds. All the States registered 216 banking fraud cases during the lockdown.
Meanwhile, sociologist Kaushalnath Pyakurel said the registration of over 5,000 criminal cases in the country during the lockdown period has indicated that people have increasingly become inhuman and insensitive towards grief and happiness of others.
“Today’s society where we are living is becoming self-centric and unsupportive to each other’s problem and this was manifested more during the time of lockdown,” he said.
Another thing was that the governments of three levels failed to address the needs of people even though several mechanisms were adopted for that, he said.
The managerial part of the government during this lockdown could not work well when the even ward level government couldn’t do justice to the poor and needy, he said.
“The society had to read and hear more news of suicide during this lockdown and this happened when people were pushed into negativism and frustration prompting them to end one’s life,” he said.
Hemanta Malla Thakuri, former Deputy Inspector General of Nepal Police, said during the lockdown more people killed themselves by committing suicide rather than other forms of crime, and murder. “It is not unnatural to see an increase in social, financial and life-related crimes during the lockdown as people faced hunger, penury, and joblessness,” Malla said.