Page last updated at 12:05 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 13:05 UK

India tops list of murder numbers

By Sunil Raman
BBC News, Delhi

Police carry a bag containing remains of children in India
The Indian capital Delhi has witnessed many high-profile murders recently

More murders are committed in India than in any other country in the world, according to figures released in Delhi.

A new government report says 32,719 murder cases were registered last year, double the figure in the US and three times more than in Pakistan.

Experts say the real crime rate in India is even higher with many cases going unreported.

South Africa has the highest murder rate, taking into account population size, it says.

High-profile cases

Overall, five million cases of crime, including murder, rape and drug offences, were reported in India in 2007-08, the report compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and released by the Indian home ministry says.

The rate of murder in India is three per 100,000 people while that of rape is four in 100,000, according to the report

The Indian capital, Delhi, which has seen a number of high-profile cases of crime in the last few years, has recorded a rise of nearly 2% in the number of murders since 2006.

The report's authors, who collated figures from around the world, say India is followed closely by South Africa with 30,960 murders.

For the same period, United States reported 16,692 murders while Pakistan registered 9,631 cases.

However, taking into account population differences, South Africa emerges as a much more dangerous place, with 65.27 murders per 100,000 people and 115.8 rapes per 100,000 people.

The Indian authorities have been criticised over a steady increase in crime.

Retired police officer Prakash Singh told the BBC the real crime figures could be a lot higher because many state governments often ask the police to "manipulate" their figures.

"There are instances when local police refuse to register a complaint," he says.

Mr Singh says an organisation like the NCRB has to depend on state governments for their figures.

"They have no independent research body to depend on. They ask states for figures which are then collated and produced as a report," he says.

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