A high number of people from the SC or ST communities filing cases under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act are forced to flee their homes for fear of pressure from the accused. An indication of the same is the frequent need of revalidating the relief cheques issued in favour of the complainants.
This was revealed by Ranga Reddy district Collector A.Vani Prasad at a meeting of the district-level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee for Implementation of SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act here. “Most often we face a lot of difficulty in delivering the cheques as the complainants would have moved away from their villages. It could be an indication of pressure mounted on them,” Ms. Prasad explained.
A total of Rs.13,40,000 has been issued to the victims of atrocities between April 1 and December 31 last year by way of ex gratia and other relief measures.
Tardy investigation, huge pendency of cases and low conviction rate in the cases registered under the Act came to discussion at the meeting which saw very low attendance from public representatives.
Dismissal of cases
Superintendent of Police (Rural) B. Rajakumari noted an increase in the reported cases.
However, quite a few cases are dismissed as false due to discrepancies in the complainant’s version in FIR and during investigation. Witnesses turning hostile and compromises struck during trials are reasons behind huge number of acquittals. DCP, Cyberabad, Ranga Reddy informed about the status of grave cases such as murder and rape.
Referring to the 2010 case of a minor girl’s rape and murder in Borabanda, he said medical reports of the accused are awaited. The girl, a watchman’s daughter, was raped and fatally attacked by four persons. While the accused were apprehended and remanded to judicial custody in June, 2012, the case is yet to be presented in court. Activists from Dalit Stree Shakti questioned why the Act was not invoked with regard to the suicide by a Dalit girl Renuka in 2010, allegedly due to harassment from teachers of the residential school she was studying in.
Officer on Special Duty for the SC/ST Commission R. Subba Rao called for weekly visits to the conflict-ridden areas by a team of officials led by Tahsildar. He asked the police officials to register cases of all the complaints received, and carry out comprehensive investigations, taking critical view of the counter cases.
Minister G. Prasad Kumar, MLC K. Nageshwar and MLA K. Lakshma Reddy attended the meeting.