The murder of a journalist in Bihar has brought the focus back to the alarming law and order situation in the state. Not only has there been a surge in the crime rate, ruling party politicians and legislators have been found indulging in criminal activities.

Data shows that cases of kidnappings for ransom and cognisable offences have been on the rise.

Alarmed at the rise of criminal incidents, the Congress, which is an alliance partner in the state, has suggested the formation of a coordination committee with the JD(U) and the RJD. The Congress wants the committee to work as a “watchdog” to keep an eye on the policy decisions and crucial measures being taken by the state government. The Congress, a smaller partner, has 27 MLAs and four ministers in the Nitish Cabinet.

Following the surge in criminal activities, the BJP has relaunched its campaign of branding “Nitish raj” as “jungle raj”.

Last week, a teenaged student was killed in Gaya, allegedly by JD(U) MLC Manorama Devi’s son Rocky Yadav. The MLC is on the run for abetting her son’s escape and hoarding liquor bottles at home (liquor has been banned in Bihar). Her husband Bindi Yadav and bodyguard have been arrested for allegedly helping Rocky escape.

From November 2015 to May 2016, around seven high-profile murders have been reported, which include those of engineers, politicians and students. In February, three NDA leaders — Brijanthi Singh of the LJP and Bisheshwar Ojha and Kedar Singh of the BJP — were killed.

A minor girl was raped for which RJD MLA Rajballabh Yadav was arrested. Since the formation of the Grand Secular Alliance government in Bihar, around 13 legislators have been booked for heinous crimes.

The data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows that till 2012, Bihar was ranked 22 and was at par with Punjab in cognisable crimes. But from 2015, the crime rate in Bihar shot up.

The Opposition has claimed that a reign of terror, reminiscent of Lalu Yadav’s “jungle raj”, is prevailing in Nitish Kumar’s Bihar. Students, traders and businessmen have all been targeted.

Political rivals have also been on the hit list. LJP leader Brijnathi Singh was killed near Patna. Assailants used an AK 47 to kill him. BJP leader Bisheshwar Ojha was also shot dead in February this year. Suresh Thakur, a police sub-inspector, was killed by motorcycle-borne assailants. Class 8 student Ritik Raj was found murdered in Nalanda, the home district of the chief minister.

As per the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), while the RJD, which emerged as the single largest party in the state Assembly, has 49 legislators with criminal charges, the JD(U)’s 37 MLAs have criminals cases pending against them.

Data further shows that the total number of cognisable offences that took place in 2014 were 195,024. The number went up to 195,397, an addition of 373 cases, in 2015. Though this was marginal, the trend was clear.

Records show that kidnappings for ransom were also on the rise. While the crime bureau recorded 6,570 kidnappings for ransom in 2014, the figure went up to 7,127 by 2015. This year in January, 581 kidnappings for ransom cases have been recorded.

The deteriorating law and order situation has given rivals BJP an opportunity to demand President’s Rule in the state. Deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav, defending his state, had recently compared the Pathankot terror attack to the killing of the youth by Rocky Yadav.

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