Crime and criminality have always co-existed in society but what is worrying is the increasing number and brutality of the nature of crimes being committed. As India pushes to emerge as a developed nation, crime too seems to be growing as a natural consequence.
As per latest National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data, in 2014, there were 33,981 cases of murder reported, 41,791 cases of attempt to murder, 36,735 cases of rape, 82,235 cases of attempt to outrage modesty of women, 77,237 cases of kidnapping and abduction, amongst the more serious crimes.
2015 has had its fair share of heinous crimes with several cases that caught the nation’s attention. Here are some of the more famous cases this year.
Sheena Bora murder case
The crime of the year, in terms of media attention and public interest, was the Sheena Bora murder case. Sheena Bora was one of two children born out of a relationship between Indrani Mukherjea (nee Bora) and one Siddharth Das, both residents of Assam at the time. Indrani Mukherjea subsequently left her elder daughter Sheena and younger son Mikhail Bora with her parents in Guwahati and moved to Kolkata to pursue her career. There she met one Sanjeev Khanna, who offered the opportunity of a better life and they were soon married. Vidhi, the only child from this marriage was born soon after. It was a matter of time that the marriage broke up, and Indrani Mukherjea moved to Mumbai along with Vidhi to pursue her life and career.
She soon met Peter Mukherjea who was then the head of Star Television and they subsequently got married. Peter had a son, Rahul, from a previous marriage. Sheena Bora soon relocated to Mumbai to pursue her college studies but was publicly introduced as Indrani’s sister, while Mikhail was referred to as her brother.
In April 2012, Sheena Bora’s body was discovered in the Raigad district of Maharashtra but the body remained unidentified and the case lay in suspension until the arrest of one Shyamwar Rai, Indrani and Peter Mukherjea’s driver, and he spilled the beans on Indrani and her former husband Sanjeev Khanna’s direct involvement in the murder. Peter Mukherjea too has been subsequently arrested for his involvement in the case and now the same is being investigated by the CBI.
The sheer high status of the couple followed by revelations of Indrani’s past caught the nation’s attention that stood riveted to television for longer time than any other news event of the year. The case ranks high on the list of heinous crimes, since it involves a remorseless mother killing her own child for material gain.
Dadri lynching case
28 September saw 52-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq dragged out of his home in a village in Dadri, U.P, and lynched by a mob ostensibly for killing and eating beef. Instigated by a group of persons, the local temple priest announced over the public address system that a calf had been killed and eaten by Mohammad Akhlaq. In a matter of minutes, an angry crowd reached his house and he was brutally beaten to death. His 22-year-old son Danish tried to intervene but was severely beaten.
Akhlaq’s death had political ramifications in the Bihar assembly elections. His death left communities and political parties deeply polarized, with media highlighting the incident and beef politics that followed. 15 persons have been arrested so far and will be tried as per law.
Kalburgi murder case
MM Kalburgi was a writer and social activist living in Karnataka, when he was shot dead apparently for being an atheist and for writing what many right wing extremist groups perceived as religious blasphemy. His death was yet another case of writers being silenced by religious fanatics because of their views.
His murder follows a spate of killings earlier that included Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, reflecting growing intolerance across the country. The CBI team, which has been investigating the Dabholkar murder case in Maharashtra, is likely to take over the Kalburgi case from the Karnataka CID.
Nadia gang rape case
The brutal gang rape of a 71-year-old Catholic Nun, teaching in a school in Ranaghat in Nadia district of West Bengal, drew global condemnation of the heinous act in March this year. CCTV footage caught the aggressors on camera, some of whom had crossed over from Bangladesh and were soon arrested.
Dimapur Mob lynching case
March this year saw yet another incident of mob justice when 35-year-old Syed Farid Khan was dragged out of prison by a frenzied mob that had gathered outside by the thousands. Khan, a resident of Dimapur, had been jailed for raping a 20-year-old Naga girl. Helpless prison guards stood as mute spectators as the mob dragged Khan out, stripped him naked and proceeded to lynch him in full public view. The act drew condemnation from all quarters but also raised questions about the prevailing law and order situation in Nagaland. The lynching had political consequences in Assam, as the state has a high Muslim population.
Hema Upadhyay murder case
On 12 December this year, Hema Upadhyay, an artist living in Mumbai, was found murdered along with her lawyer, Harish Bhambhani. Both bodies had been cut into pieces, wrapped in plastic sheets, placed inside a cardboard box, and dumped in a sewer in Kandivali area of Mumbai.
Hema was going through a troubled marriage with her artist husband, Chintan Upadhyay and their divorce proceedings were underway. Given their background, the case drew wide media attention, leading to two persons being arrested for the killing. They later spilled the beans on the husband’s involvement, which lead the police to arrest him as well. The gruesome nature of the crime in the closing month of 2015 only highlights the growing problem of crime and criminality in the world we live in.