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Punjab police see social media ‘misuse’ in rising rape cases

LAHORE: The Punjab police have claimed that misuse of social media is one of the reasons behind an increase in crime relating to rape and child abduction.

Official statistics of the police department, also available with Dawn, reveal that as many as 3,085 incidents of rape, 180 of gang rape, 146 of child rape, 1,289 of child abduction and eight cases of murder-after-rape have been reported in the province during the first 10 months of 2021.

The data also discloses that at least 10 police officials have been found involved in rape cases reported during the corresponding period.

It claims that as many as 4,130 culprits are in police custody while 298 others are on bail in these cases.

The statistics signed by an additional inspector general (monitoring) of police also claim a 54 per cent conviction rate with a 23pc ratio of absconders in the crime incidents in-question.

Responding to questions asked by lawyer and activist, Abdullah Malik, under the Punjab Transparency & Right to Information Act 2013, the police department argued that the main reasons for the increase in such crimes are free registration of cases, misuse of social media and under-age employment.

Asked about any physiological study on the culprits involved in these crimes, the reply says, “The issue does not relate to the police department.”

To another query whether the department recommended any case study to make further legislation to eliminate the crime from society, it says “Zainab case” has been a test case in the history of Punjab police that has been successfully solved. The case also invited attention of various NGOs, it adds.

Mr Malik says the department did not respond to his other query regarding police station wise data of cops involved in such crimes. He also disputes the conviction rate claimed by the police saying as per a previous data of such crimes shared by the department for the period of 2018-20 was not more than five per cent.

Talking to Dawn, Advocate Asad Jamal said the reasons claimed by the police department for the aforementioned crimes were not understandable except for underage employment of children without protection.

He said terming the alleged “misuse of social media” one of the reasons for such crimes was an unsubstantiated fact. The police department must share more information on this aspect.

He said there must have been an analysis and study of years before making such claim.

The advocate opined that the bizarre reasons narrated by the police were nothing more than an act of diverting attention from its poor performance. Has any study been done by the police? Have they gathered reliable data? What do they mean by “misuse of social media”, by whom and how?

Calling the police performance and capacity deplorable in preventing and detecting such crimes, Jamal referred to police departments of countries where, he said, psychologists and criminologists are engaged to prevent and investigate criminal activities including criminal acts for which cyber space is used. Our police should also take similar steps to improve their performance.

Source:  Dawn