Bhubaneswar: Describing rise in crimes against women as a nationwide phenomenon, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday said law and order in the state remained by and large peaceful in 2012 with improvement in the Left Wing Extremist situation.
"The Nirbhaya case in Delhi only goes to show the level to which such cases have grown in our country. This is a nationwide phenomenon and we must rise above party lines to condemn this and take the strongest possible steps to prevent and punish such depraved acts," Patnaik told the Assembly replying to the concern of opposition Congress and BJP members over increasing crimes against women in the state.
While the number of rape cases in the state increased to 1,458 in 2012 from 1,112 in 2011, the number of gang-rapes also rose to 80 from 73 in the previous year.
"During the last one year, there has been sharp focus on the increasing number of cases of violence against women in the country," the chief minister said, but did not comment on the recent high-profile dowry torture case involving a senior BJD leader who resigned on March 15 from the ministry.
Dissatisfied with the chief minister`s reply, the opposition members walked out of the assembly.
On the Maoist front, Patnaik said there was peace in in the districts of Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Sambalpur and Deogarh, while there was a decline in the ultra activity in Gajapati, Ganjam and Sundergarh districts.
The chief minister, however, admitted that the situation was challenging in Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Bolangir and Nuapada districts.
"Besides, Maoist presence continues to be felt in the district of Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Bargarh," Patnaik said.
The activities of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha declined in Narayanpatna-Bandhugaon axis of Koraput district, with a large number of their supporters surrendering last year, he said.
Maoists committed 104 incidents of violence resulting in death of 19 security personnel and 25 civilians last year, he said.
So far in 2013, Patnaik said, six incidents of Maoist violence were reported claiming three civilian lives.