The National Crime Records Bureau has revealed that Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh – two of the major states in the Hindi heartland – fare the worst when it comes to security for women. The bureau said 3.78 lakh cases of crime against women were reported in 2018, with Uttar Pradesh registering 59,445 cases – the most. The state had topped the list in 2017 too. The maximum number of rapes – 5,450, or almost 15 a day – were reported in Madhya Pradesh.

Uttar Pradesh was followed by Maharashtra – 35,497 cases of crimes against women – and West Bengal – 30,394 cases. The conviction rate in rape cases was 27.2% even though the rate of filing chargesheets was 85.3%. Cruelty by husband or his relatives (31.9%), and assault with intent to outrage modesty (27.6%) constituted the major share of crimes against women, the bureau said.

This data came in the backdrop of a number of gruesome cases of murder and alleged rape across India that made the front page of newspapers. In November, four men allegedly raped and murdered a woman in Hyderabad. They were also accused of burning her body. The four were shot dead by the police under controversial circumstances in early December. Days after the Hyderabad incident, a rape complainant in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district was burnt alive by five men, including two men she had accused of sexually assaulting her. A state legislator and former Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kuldeep Singh Sengar was also convicted for raping a teenager, and sentenced to life.

The bureau’s 2018 report was published with provisional data as five states – West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Sikkim – did not send clarifications that it had sought, The Hindu reported.

According to the bureau, overall crime in India increased 1.3% in 2018 compared to 2017, with more than 50 lakh cognisable crimes getting registered. However, crime rate per lakh population was down to 383.5 in 2018 from 388.6 the year before.

After the release of the 2017 report last October, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy had claimed there was no trend of crimes against women increasing in India. The minister made the claim in a remark to Parliament, and backed his claim by citing a comparison of the crime rates in 2016 and 2017.