Bengaluru might have seen a marginal decline in the number of murders, but the changing pattern of crime in 2022 is worrying police officers. Till May 13, a total of 49 murders have been reported in the city, of which 23 (nearly 50%) are related to domestic issues.
Investigating officers say domestic and financial disputes, incompatibility and extramarital affairs are behind such murders this year.
“The accused are not habitual criminals but ordinary people who act on an impulse and in a fit of rage,” says Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant.
According to data accessed by DH, of the 23 murders owing to domestic disputes reported in the city in the last four and half months, the husband’s involvement has been confirmed in 10 cases, the wife’s in one case, and close relatives’ role in six cases. Murders because of illicit relationships stand at six.
While 2019 saw 205 murders, it dipped to 177 in 2020 and further to 155 in 2021.
Pant cited two recent cases that exposed the city’s fragile and shallow relationships — one where a man killed his wife suspecting her fidelity and another where the woman murdered her husband in cold blood and then faked a robbery.
“Domestic disputes are not amicably resolved and murders are committed on frivolous grounds,” he told DH.
He said in most cases financial crisis, extramarital affairs, joblessness and incompatibility are the root causes. The pandemic and resultant issues such as financial loss have compounded marital discords. “Money gives security and peace, but the lack of it leads to bitterness and toxicity which manifest in a violent fashion. The lack of a strong bond and lack of trust in relationships have forced partners to seek comfort and love elsewhere,” he explains.
An investigating officer with the intelligence wing of the Bengaluru City Police said that murders have always been committed for three reasons — money, land and woman. He concedes that murders because of domestic disputes have increased.
“People have become more intolerant towards each other. The more entertainment they have at their fingertips, the more greedy people become. The pandemic has accelerated this greed,” added the officer. He cited two cases where a woman got her father-in-law murdered by her lover and another case where a man murdered his friend for commenting on his wife.
Dr T P Vipin, advocate and criminologist, confirmed that many domestic cases have emerged in the aftermath of Covid-19. "The lockdowns revealed the vulnerabilities in family relationships and exposed many extramarital affairs which were one of the root causes of crime, suicide and divorce cases. Financial instability and insecurity, unemployment, psychological issues such as anxiety, stress, loneliness, work-from-home fatigue, health issues and lack of recreation added to this," Vipin told DH.
He said that the recent crime trend indicated that the acts were not pre-meditated. He also felt that the impact of technology has cut down interactions within family and drawn people away from reality.