Tamil Nadu has topped the country in infanticides with 15 cases reported in 2021, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan that registered 10 and 7 cases respectively, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau.
Rattled by an alarming 39.8% increase in crimes against children from the previous year, the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) has sought an urgent report from all Zonal Inspectors-General of Police and Range Deputy Inspectors-General of Police on the actual causes/reasons for the increase.
According to the NCRB data, Tamil Nadu reported 6,064 cases of crimes against children in 2021 as against 4,338 cases and 4,139 cases in 2020 and 2019 respectively. The State reported 56 murders, in which 69 children died, including 3 cases of rape and offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Sixteen cases of attempt to murder children and 8 cases of abetment to suicide were reported. The State registered 80 cases in which children were the victims of assault, having sustained simple hurt, 8 incidents of grievous hurt and 319 cases of kidnapping and abduction. The data revealed that there were 47 cases of procuration of minor girls and five cases of human trafficking involving 19 children.
Spurt in POCSO cases
Of the total 4,465 cases involving 4,562 children registered under the POCSO Act, 3,433 pertained to rape affecting 3,435 girls and 34 boys. When it came to offences under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, the State registered 101 cases involving 128 children. In 15 of these cases, the offences were committed by the care-takers/in-charge of juvenile homes.
The police registered 26 cases against suspects who engaged 32 children as child labourers and rescued 169 children under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.
Thirty cases under the Information Technology Act were booked against accused persons for making 15 children victims of cybercrime and publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually explicit act. Statistics on crimes against children in cities showed that Chennai reported 435 cases under the POCSO Act and Coimbatore recorded 81 cases last year.
When contacted by The Hindu for his views, Retired Director-General of Police M. Ravi, who was the Additional Director-General of Police, Crime against Women and Children, in 2020, said the increase in the number of cases was primarily because more victims were coming forward to lodge complaints with the police, thanks to the awareness created by law-enforcement agencies among parents and children.
Another reason for sexual assaults targeting children was the access to child pornography. “After analyzing POCSO cases for a couple of years, we found that the accused persons in those cases were regularly viewing child pornography. Analysis of their mobile phones and electronic gadgets confirmed this...,” Mr. Ravi said.