Ranchi: Dismissing the opposition charge that crime graph has increased to an alarming level in the state, Jharkhand government on Wednesday said Delhi "topped" the country in crime incidents and termed the opposition ignoring the Maoist menace as unfortunate.

"Jharkhand's position is 27th compared to Delhi's number one position in the country's crime graph," HRD Minister Baijnath Ram informed the state assembly.

Replying on behalf of his government after the debate on crime, Ram said, "It is unfortunate that no member from the opposition bench raised the issue of naxal problem during the whole debate. How can they raise it when elections are won with their help?"

The minister was apparently referring to the Jamshedpur Lok Sabha bypoll earlier this year when a controversy was kicked up that the winning candidate had allegedly spoken to a Maoist seeking help.

"I come from worst Maoist-affected district of Latehar. And I face threat to my life. I can be murdered if I talk against them. Yet I will talk against them," Ram said taunting the opposition members.

Compared to 1900 murders reported in 2010, this year the state has recorded about 1700 murders. Similarly, there were 706 incidents of loot in the previous year as compared to this year's 584, Ram said.

Responding to Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantric-JVM-P) MLA Pradip Yadav's claim that Khunti district alone had registered 105 murders this year, Ram said a special task force would be constituted to deal law and order there.

Stating that Rs 34 crore has been sanctioned to modernise 54 police stations in 18 districts, Ram said a special anti-Maoist drive would be launched, besides the ongoing anti-naxal operations.

Under a special drive unemployed youth would be given employment, he said adding new roads would be laid in every village having a population of over 250 persons. Earlier participating in the debate JVM-P MLA Pradip Yadav demanded that the government should re-investigate into the Chilkari massacre which had witnessed killing of 19 people, including his party head Babulal Marandi's son, after the acquittal of four persons by the high court.

"Instill confidence in the people by tracking the killers of Chilkari massacre. The government should investigate it again," Yadav said while accusing the government of not able to produce witnesses that led to the acquittal of four persons.

Alleging that nights in Jharkhand were not safe, Yadav cited how services of Gyaneswari Express was not yet restored after it was taken off from Kharagpur railway division after the tragic accident triggered by the Maoists in the neighbouring West Bengal.

"Police torture of the innocent continues while police officers don't respect to MLAs as per protocol demands. The police have to change their image," said Yadav.

Alleging that five people are killed every day on an average, CPI (ML-Liberation) MLA Vinod Kumar Singh alleged crime against women and children had increased.

He also alleged that special police officers were also involved in criminal activities.

Congress MLA Manan Malik cited how Suresh Singh, a coal trader, was shot dead at a marriage function in Dhanbad earlier this month and demanded CBI probe into the killing.

(Agencies)