Kerala safest state in India

Thursday, 21 November 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister A.K. Antony may have come in for flak for allowing the police greater freedom, but the latest Intelligence Bureau (IB) report says Kerala is the safest place in India.

Kerala was the only safe, it was the only place where not a single communal clash broke out between September 2001 and August 2002, it said.

Among other states considered safe after Kerala were Haryana, Delhi and Punjab in the report released at the annual conference of directors general of police.

Inspector General of Police Alexander Jacob, who is also the principal of the Police Academy here, said this was not surprising because several other indicators relating to crime showed Kerala had the lowest crime rate.

"In the last year, in one village in Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) there were 5,000 murder cases and in Kerala there were just 442," Jacob told IANS.

"Similarly if one takes into account the number of cases registered on atrocities on women in India, it was 186,000 while in Kerala it was 7,000."

The number of rape cases all India averaged 1,300 and in Kerala it is just 544.

"It is only in Kerala and Nagaland that women can safely walk around. In Nagaland, it is a common belief that if the tears of a women fall, it is an extremely bad sign. In Kerala, one reason is the law and order situation here."

Likewise if crime rate were calculated on a pro rata basis with the population, Kerala should have 160,000 cases registered in an year, while the figure for the last year was 113,000 cases.

A district police officer said: "There is no doubt about Kerala being the safest place. This is evident from the free movement of people and vehicles on the roads even at midnight. Even a small case in the state makes headlines.

"I doubt if that is the case in other states."

Despite all the positive indicators about safety aspects prevalent in Kerala, the most disgruntled people appears to be Antony's own party men, who right from veteran leader K. Karunakaran to lower level leaders have been complaining that all is not well with the present police policy.

They are also upset with K.J. Joseph, the strict director general of police who has been given a free hand to control his men, free from any sort of political intervention.

"It is only politicians who are upset because unlike in the past, today to a very large extend we have freedom from any sort of political pressure," said a top police official on condition of anonymity.

"Gone are the days when it was local leaders of the ruling party who saw to it that their favourites were posted as police officers. No wonder they are upset."

Source: IANS
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