A candid explanation

Statistics hides more than what it reveals…. An old saying came like a preaching for me after I came out from the cabin of additional DG rank police officer, a few days ago. Before stepping out, we discussed the recent Maharashtra crime report. The report had no major change over cases pertaining to Immoral Trafficking (prevention) Act (popularly known as PITA). It suggested slight joggling in numbers of PITA for last few years with around 100 points increase this year.

During my stay in the cabin, I opened this subject to know officer's reaction. I was trying to link those figures with the post dance bar ban scenario. As per my naïve understanding, a ban would have brought rise in the prostitution cases and subsequently in the registration of PITA cases. In absence of any other more effective law to control prostitution, police applies PITA to nab prostitutes, panders or pimps.

Exulted over discovering a very good story angle, I hastily asked the officer, “Sir, your minister would be happy to see no change in PITA cases”. While saying this I was pointing out the heavy criticism poor R R Patil had to undergo through when ban was imposed on all the dance bars in the state. Patil was criticized scathingly from certain quarters that were said to be worried about ‘a ban would invite rise in prostitution’.

The officer; folded hands, smile on face, took couple of second to came back to me. Though ostensibly reluctant, he then told me how statistics sometime butchers the ground level situation. “The action taken in cases like PITA is a preventive one”. (Of course one can’t expect cops to arrest prostitutes after they finish the game with their customers ;) )

The officer the went on to say “Look, when the dance bars were in existence, the record showed around 200-230 cases every year. Now after the ban the number isn’t changed”. He then smiled….and then kept quite.

His mum was a pointer towards an inefficient police force, lack in action curbing prostitution. Otherwise, in this state, how can there be only 200-230 cases every year when prostitution is a rampant activity.

Before leaving his cabin, I was left with nothing but to say, “statistic hides more than what it reveals”.

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