A fact-finding report compiled by the Karnataka Dalit Mahila Vedike has found that in 2011 and 2012, one Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe person was murdered every week and one was raped in the same period.
The report, which was released on Wednesday in the presence of senior functionaries of the government, highlights the dismal implementation of the SC and ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. It shows that the conviction rate in cases registered under the special Act remains only 4.8 per cent for SCs and 3.1 per cent for STs.
“Much of the problem lies with the poor legal defence provided by public prosecutors hired by the State,” said Yoshodha, a member of the vedike.
Another significant point that the report makes is that the quarterly district-level meetings as well as the half-yearly State-level meetings that are supposed to be held to monitor the implementation of the Act are not being held properly. At the State level, the last such meeting was held in 2010 and once in 2006. At the district level, many deputy commissioners have not conducted the quarterly meetings in three years. Yet, no action has been taken against officers who have displayed indifference, the report states.
Law Minister T.B. Jaychandra, who attended the programme, assured the activists that the government would convene a meeting soon to address pending issues pertaining to the welfare of SCs and STs.