The National Commission for Scheduled Castes, headed by Congress MP P.L. Punia, will soon be making public a list, of officials from Uttar Pradesh who had neglected, slackened on, or not taken cognisance of crimes committed against Dalits in the State. The Commission's first step was to write to President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, drawing their attention to the rapidly rising graph of atrocities against dalits.

The Commission's Vice-President, Rajkumar Verka, said on Thursday that the object of publicising the names of civil servants and policemen who were not being pro-active in taking action on complaints coming in from dalits was to tell them: “Don't be pressured into not taking action because the crimes have been committed by legislators belonging to the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party.” He was referring to the case of the dalit girl who was raped by a BSP MLA and then imprisoned by having a false case registered against her.

Evidently, Dr. Punia, who once served as Principal Secretary to Mayawati when she was Chief Minister, had decided to take the battle into the heart of Uttar Pradesh, which goes to the polls next year. The Commission's actions come even as Congress general-secretary Rahul Gandhi, visiting dalit rape victims in U.P., continues to criticise Ms. Mayawati for the deteriorating law and order situation in U.P..

U.P. will not be the only State to face the Commission's scrutiny — the next will be the Congress-ruled Haryana, another State in which the plight of Dalits is dire, as the incident in Mirchpur last year demonstrated.

Dr. Verka said efforts would be made to bring succour to dalits across the country. In the last four months, 568 crimes against Dalits in U.P., and 348 from Haryana, had come to the Commission's attention. Most of the cases related to murder, rape, land grabbing and atrocities by the police, he said.

Asked whether the Commission was targeting U.P. alone, he denied it, pointing out that the Commission had taken the Congress-ruled Delhi government to task for shifting Rs. 4,000 crore, earmarked for dalit welfare, for the Commonwealth Games, and the Congress-ruled Haryana government for shifting Rs. 3,400 crore to other expenditure heads. He added that Rs. 6,000 crore in U.P. and Rs. 2,600 crore in Punjab had similarly gone astray.