Pulling up the Maharashtra government for low conviction rate in atrocity cases against Dalits, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes on Tuesday asked the State to expedite trials and probe in such cases.

“1,200 cases of atrocities against scheduled castes are reported each year in Maharashtra. Out of them, 500 cases are pending. There should be exclusive and fast-track courts under which priority should be to atrocity cases,” Commission’s Chairman Dr. P.L. Punia said reporters in Mumbai.

The Commission today conducted a review of various departments of the State government, on the works done by them benefiting the people from scheduled castes.

“Investigation in atrocities against Dalits should be completed within one month. Trials should also be expedited in these cases,” Mr. Punia said.

Stating that serious cases of atrocities have come to fore in the State in recent past, he said Maharashtra’s current conviction rate in atrocity cases is six per cent, while earlier it was three per cent.

“In heinous crime cases like rape, murder and arson, the State’s conviction rate is eight per cent,” he added.

Speaking on the Sanoi triple murder case, where Dalit youths were hacked to death, Mr. Punia said the Commission would closely monitor the case.

“If there is thorough investigation we will welcome it. The case should not be kept in cold storage,” he said.

Asking Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to hold meetings of State vigilance committee regularly, he said in the last two years the meeting was not convened even once.

“Meetings are also not taking place of the vigilance committees formed at the district level. Deputy Superintendents of Police of respective districts are not attending the meeting,” he added.