This ‘heaven’ in the hills saw no crime in a decade

This ‘heaven’ in the hills saw no crime in a decade

A snow-covered neighbourhood in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. PTI FILE

A faraway district on the mountains has earned the distinction of being perhaps the only place in the country which is yet to witness a case of murder, sexual harassment, molestation, robbery etc., in a decade.

It may sound unreal, but the far-flung district of Lahaul and Spiti in the northern hill state of Himachal Pradesh has also not registered a single case of dowry death, forgery, fraud, abduction, dacoity, extortion or criminal conspiracy in the last 10 years.

The 'zero-crime', snow-clad district remains cut off from the rest of the world for several months during winters. It is sparsely populated, and the peace-loving people of the area walk away with much of the credit for ensuring harmony and crime-free environs.

Officials privy to the demographics and ethos of Lahaul and Spiti — which is thinly inhabited with less than 32,000 people but spread over a massive 14,000 square kilometres — say locals have an overwhelming penchant for religious practices. They believe community festivals and deity worship keep them away from vices, said former HP-cadre IAS officer Rakesh Sharma.

He said locals engage in agricultural practices in summer months to sustain themselves, while in the biting winters they stay indoors or indulge in winter sports which is seen as a mechanism to route positive energy. Last month, the highest ice-skating artificial rink at an altitude of 3,720 metres was inaugurated in the remote Kaza town in Spiti. The government feels this will not only promote tourism but also keep the people involved in the sport directly or indirectly.

A 10-day high-altitude training session for ice hockey was also organised towards the end of December.

According to official data, no case of rape has been registered in the last five years in the district. While there have been a few criminal cases, sources maintain that migrant labourers were involved in some of these cases. As per data, less than 700 cases were registered in Lahaul and Spiti in the last 19 years.

Rajesh Dharmani, SSP, Lahaul-Spiti, said people in this vast district are largely peace-loving, but it cannot be taken for granted, given that a lot of migration is taking place from other states. But the few criminal cases that were registered over the passage of time have resulted in a very high conviction rate, which acts a deterrent.

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