This year began with a shocking murder of a 19-year-old student Jhanvi Kukreja, who was allegedly killed by her two friends on the New Years Eve in Khar. While this murder became one of the first offences registered in the city this year, the first five months of the year have seen a spurt in the number of murder cases registered revealed a data procured from the Mumbai Police.
According to the data, there has been a 21% increase in murder cases registered from January to May, this year, as compared to last year. The police and psychologists have claimed that the pandemic-induced lockdown has led to pent-up aggression and depression among people. This has led to a spurt in murders.
While a major chunk of cases have taken place in the spur of the moment, they are a result of an unhealthy and unhappy environment, along with serious conflicts. Dr Harish Shetty, a renowned psychiatrist in Mumbai said, “The lockdown and shock-caused fear psychosis is what has led to suicides and murders. In the second wave, the lockdown was not stringent and the criminals could execute their intentions as the victims at large were available.”
In the data released by the Mumbai police, in the first five months of 2021, there were 73 cases of murder registered across the city, of which 69 were detected, while last year the same time there were 53 murder cases and all were detected.
The Police said that even as the number of cases has increased, the detection the rate has gone up from 91% in 2020 to 95%. A senior IPS officer said most murders committed were not crimes of passion or pre-planned, but were committed in the spur of the moment. “We need to not only think about the crime rate,but the drive behind it is also unpredictable, which cannot be prevented,” the officer added. The police said that most murders were reported in May, this year, with 22 murders being registered, which were the highest since 2020.
An official said that most of these crimes were reported in slum areas, raising an alarm on the law and order situation there. Recently, a murder that had sensationalized the city was the killing of 28-year-old Raees Shaikh, who was allegedly murdered by his wife Shahida and her paramour Amit Vishwakarma in May. His body was buried in the kitchen and resurfaced the area with fresh tiles. The police noticed modifications in the kitchen, which raised their suspicion. They were both arrested and booked for murder. Intheweehoursof May 29, RichieFernandes (27) allegedly killed his friend Masjid Khan (19) during a drunken brawl in Mahim.
Fernandes was handed over to the police. Interestingly, an assistant police inspector, attached to Mahim police station, was suspended after Fernandes, who was externed from the city limits, committed a murder in the area. Soon after the murder, an enquiry was initiated and police fixed the responsibility of detection officer Suresh Walvi, who was later suspended.
Vijay Raghavan, professor at the Centre of Criminology and Justice School of Social Work at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences said these are fluctuating trends of number of murder cases registered and it is difficult to draw inferences on a small data set.
Raghavan said, “One of the reasons could be that due to the lockdown and loss of livelihoods, people have been confined to their homes. This has resulted in a rise in conflicts. Domestic violence, child abuse is also on the rise. At such times, violence is likely to increase as itis an outcome of internal and external conflicts. Since most of the murders were drunken brawls and committed in the state of in a inebriation, they seem to be the spur of the moment or sudden rage type of crimes."