In a troubling revelation, the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report exposes a distressing 35 percent increase in crimes against children in Jammu and Kashmir over the past two years. The statistics are deeply concerning, shedding light on the vulnerability of the region’s youngest citizens.
According to the report, the surge is evident, with 920 cases of crimes against children registered in 2022, a substantial rise from 606 cases in 2020. Even in 2021, the Union Territory recorded 845 cases, painting a grim picture of the safety of children in the region.
On a national level, the overall scenario is disconcerting, with a total of 1, 62,449 cases of crimes against children registered in 2022, marking an 8.7% increase from the previous year. This concerning trend demands urgent attention and concerted efforts from both the state and central governments.
The NCRB report provides a detailed breakdown of the types of crimes perpetrated against children in Jammu and Kashmir. Shockingly, 316 cases were registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act last year, involving 318 victims. Additionally, 513 incidents of kidnapping and abduction were reported, impacting 534 young lives. Human trafficking of children, a heinous crime, was documented in seven cases, affecting 10 victims.
Equally alarming is the revelation that 75 missing children were deemed kidnapped last year, adding another layer of complexity to the issue. The report also highlights 29 incidents of kidnapping and abduction of minor girls under Section 366 of the Indian Penal Code, emphasizing the urgent need for stricter law enforcement and community awareness.
The extension of the Child Protection Services Scheme to Jammu and Kashmir in January 2018 was a step in the right direction. However, the escalating numbers suggest that more comprehensive and immediate measures are required. The revocation of Article 370 in August 2019 and the subsequent replacement of the J&K POCSO Act with the POCSO (Amendment) Act, 2019, should have been accompanied by enhanced safeguards for children, yet the opposite appears to be true.
As a society, we must prioritise the safety and well-being of our children. The government, law enforcement agencies, and the community must collaborate to create a secure environment for vulnerable children, ensuring that they are shielded from the horrors revealed by this alarming NCRB report. The time for action is now, as every child deserves to grow up in a safe and nurturing environment.