Madhya Pradesh police chief VK Singh has made a bizarre comment on why the number of false cases of kidnapping is rising in the heartland state.
"A new trend has emerged in the form of 363. Girls are getting more independent as they are going to schools and colleges, which is also one of the factors," the Director General of Police told reporters in Gwalior on Friday, referring the Section 363 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that deals with kidnapping cases.
"Their freedom is a fact; their interaction with other boys is also a reality. In such cases, a pattern has come to light where the girls leave home and their parents approach police with a complaint of kidnapping," the police chief said.
The senior police officer's comments came days after an eight-year-old girl was allegedly raped and murdered in Madhya Pradesh's capital Bhopal. Madhya Pradesh has reported 6,016 cases of kidnapping and abduction of children in 2016, according to the last available data with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
When asked about the police chief's comments, state Home Minister Bala Bachhan said, "In our review meeting, the government's intentions were made clear that if crime is committed under any police station, then the staff including seniors will be held responsible. We are committed to a safer Madhya Pradesh and to protecting our citizens."
The BJP criticised the police officer for making an "irresponsible statement". "He should avoid such general and irresponsible statements. He is the chief of the state police. We are witnessing crime against women on the rise; they are not able to control it... They should concentrate on how to prevent kidnapping and crime against women instead of giving such statements," said BJP spokesperson Rahul Kothari.
In June, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath met Home Minister Amit Shah and sought over Rs 800 crore central grant to improve infrastructure and prevent crime against women and children.
Madhya Pradesh Congress media cell head Shobha Oza declined to explain what the police chief said. "I don't know what he meant by his statement, but crime against women should not be tolerated. The chief minister has always said to have zero tolerance on crime against women, so the administration should also resonate the same mindset."
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