Onkar Singh
No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence
to prevent the commission of crimes: Hannah Arendt
If animals can live in harmony, humans can do better. This belief is believed to have guided Raja Jambulochan when he founded the present day city of Jammu after spotting a lion and a lamb drinking water side by side on the banks of river Tawi. Three and a half millennia later, that well intentioned belief has been demolished.
Recent data on crimes in Jammu province that corresponds to the Duggar Desh, the land of Dogras of which Jammu city forms the core, presents altogether a different picture of this territory. According to crime data of 2013, Jammu province has the distinction of having a crime rate of 257 per 1 lac population as against 252 for Jammu and Kashmir State as whole. Jammu province accounts for 26% of geographical area of the State, 35% of its urban population, 52% of its total population but as much as 55% (13738/25390) of its crimes! Apparently, there is a greater criminalization of this region.
Disaggregation of crime data are if on the one hand more revealing, on the other these figures are equally alarming. Information across 10 districts of Jammu province while showing a very high magnitude of spatial variations also reveals that Jammu with a crime rate of 320 per 1 lac population topped all the districts. Districts closely following Jammu are Rajouri (298) and Ramban (276) whose crime rate is also much higher than that of the State average figure, whereas those at the bottom are the peripheral Kishtwar (180) and Poonch (173). Samba matches the crime graph of the State with a figure of 252. The remaining four districts where crime figures are lower than the State average but higher than 200 mark are Reasi (250), Kathua (232), Doda (220) and Udhampur (218).
Significantly, a definite spatial pattern of crime is discernable. The crime contour gradient explicitly indicates a decline in crime figures as one moves away from Jammu district in all directions. In other words, the magnitude of crime in Jammu province is inversely proportionate to the distance from Jammu district. Apparently, Jammu is more crime prone than any other district of the province. In fact, Jammu has a significantly higher concentration of crime inducing demographic, urban and industrial indicators. For example, Jammu has a population density of 653 persons/km2, which is more than two times the second most densely populated district of Samba (318). Secondly, Jammu alone accounts for as much as 29% of total population of the province. Thirdly it houses the second largest city of the State that has a population nearing 1 million and a density of 5697 persons/km2. Fourthly, 50% of its population is urbanized which makes up 2/3rd of total urban population of the province. Fifthly, it accounts for 1/3rd of industrial units and ½ of industrial workers of the province. As urban – industrial complexes are the show cases of capitalism, and as capitalism among other things is associated with rising crime level, the top slot of Jammu district in crimes should not surprise us. Not surprisingly therefore, Jammu district alone accounted for as much as 35% of all crimes in the region in 2013. Further, it made up 32% of all charge sheeted cases, 48% of backlog cases, 50% of cases under investigation and as many as 53% of the cases that remained untraced at the end of the year. Jammu therefore, is not only the centre of Duggar culture. It is the centre of Duggar crimes as well! Apparently, Jammu is less safe a place for living than any other district in the region.
While such a bad report card of Jammu district is undoubtedly a cause for worry and an obvious source of headache for the law and order enforcing agencies, the performance of other districts, despite a relatively lower crime rate is equally dismal. Tardy justice system affects them all. For example, backlog cases in the remaining nine districts in 2013 varied between 20% (Rajouri) and 30% (Reasi). The corresponding figures for charge sheeted cases ranged between 53% (Samba) and 80% (Ramban) and those for cases under investigation between 5% (Doda) and 36% (Samba). Altogether, it is a disappointing picture of law and order as well as administration of criminal justice in the region.
As the Duggar land is drawn into the vortex of rapid economic development and socio-cultural transformation to catch up with the rest of India and be a part of the unified country and global markets, the rising crime graph would invariably become an inescapable reality of this territory as well. For as a rule, the arrows of capitalist development and crime point in the same direction.


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