Published on January 13, 2020

AHMEDABAD: In March 2018, Mahesh Senma, 33, a resident of Vadaj, was returning home after delivering lunch to his brother. On the way, he saw his brother-in-law Jayesh having an altercation with some locals over using water in their farms. The argument soon turned violent and Mahesh lost his life when the four locals attacked him and his brother-in-law.

According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) publication ‘Crime in India 2018’ it was just one of the 18 murders over water disputes in Gujarat. The state topped the list with 21% of the total 91 murders registered in India due to ‘water dispute.’

The state was worse than Bihar (15), Maharashtra (14), Rajasthan and Jharkhand (10 each) in this category, mentioned the report. For Gujarat, it was a near fourfold jump from 5 in 2017 to 18 in 2018 whereas neighbouring Maharashtra had recorded the same 14 instances of murder over water as in 2017. Madhya Pradesh, another neighbouring state, had recorded 14 murders over water in 2017 which went down to 2 in 2018.

According to the report, petty quarrels led to 21% of the total murders registered in Gujarat — fourth in India with 211 incidents. The figure was the same in 2017. Love affairs and illicit relationships were other major motives with 158 and 71 murders.

In Ahmedabad, murders from petty quarrels rose from 19 in 2017 to 35 in 2018. There were only six murders over love affairs in 2017, which rose to 11 in 2018.

There were a total of 1,140 victims in 1,072 cases of murders in which 840 victims were males and 299 were females. Age-wise, 81% of the murder victims were between 18 and 45 years of age.

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