Keralites would tolerate inefficiency of administration, corruption, poor condition of State’s roads, lack of development and much more. But, it is believed that they would not tolerate violence and other crimes in their neighbourhood. Hence, all the noise by the Opposition about law and order situation in the State, which has put the Government on the defensive.
The report of the National Crime Records Bureau that the State showed high rate of crime has come handy for the Opposition. So, also instances of political violence and forced release of political offenders from police custody. The Government’s defence is that a larger number of cases get registered in Kerala because people in the State are an educated and enlightened lot, aware of their rights. The intense political activity and accompanying demonstrations and pickets are cited as another reason.
There may be a grain of truth in these arguments. However, the efficiency of police and administration of justice is to be looked at using another criteria— the conviction rate.
The conviction rate is very low in Kerala, especially when it comes to the crimes against women (that much for the enlightenment of the State). This puts not only the present Government but also the previous Government’s in bad light.
Incidentally, part of the NCRB statistics pertains to period of rule by the present Opposition (United Democratic Front). If the present Government has contributed anything to the situation that existed before, it is in terms of political violence and worse political interference in the working of the police.