Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar lead the country in the number of cases registered of crimes against the Scheduled Castes, official data pertaining to 2013, 2014 and 2015 show.
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) counts these States among those deserving special attention.
While U.P. has witnessed a political war of words over an expelled BJP leader's insulting remarks on BSP leader Mayawati, it is Rajasthan that leads in number of crimes against Dalits.
Fifty-two to 65 per cent of all crimes in Rajasthan have a Dalit as the victim. This is despite the fact that the State's SC (Dalit) population is just 17.8 per cent of its total population. With six per cent of India's Dalit population, the State accounts for up to 17 per cent of the crimes against them across India.
With 20 per cent of India's Dalit population, U.P. accounts for 17 per cent of the crimes against them. The numbers — ranging from 7078 to 8946 from 2013 to 2015 — are high, but so is the population of Dalits in the State.
Bihar too has a poor track record, with 6721 to 7893 cases of atrocities in the same period, contributing 16-17 per cent of the all India crimes against Dalits with just eight per cent of the country's SC population. While Dalits form 15.9 per cent of the State’s population, 40-47 per cent of all crimes registered there are against Dalits.
Gujarat corrects figures
Gujarat on its part has shared corrected figures of crimes against Dalits with the NCSC after an abnormal increase in the figures pertaining to crimes against Dalits in the State.
“The anamoly and sudden increase in respect to Gujarat and Chhattisgarh are abnormal and are being highlighted so that these States can provide actual data in case there was a mistake in reporting,” said the agenda note for the NCSC review meeting with the States last week.
Gujarat's numbers of crimes against Dalits had jumped to 6655 in 2015 from 1130 in 2014, which made NCSC officials suspicious. There was also a statistical impossibility in the data — the crimes against Dalits were 163 per cent of the total number of crimes reported.
“Gujarat officials corrected the data in the meeting, and these are like previous years,” an official present at the meet said. “Chhattisgarh officials have done the same.”
Gujarat's officials, sources said, were worried that “inflated” data would further damage the State's record on Dalit atrocities when at a time it is in the eye of storm over the Una incident of public beating of Dalits and the subsequent suicide attempts by Dalits in the state.
In an attempt at damage control, the Gujarat government has also released figures claiming crimes against Dalits in the State have “gone down” under the BJP. The corrected figure for 2015 in this data set is 1052, which is lower than figure for 2014.
The data also claim that while there were on an average 1669 crimes against Dalits per year in the State from 1991 to 2000, the number declined to 1098 between 2011 and 2015.
So far as the atrocities reported to the NCSC by Dalits who feel the authorities are not giving them justice are concerned, U.P. accounts for the highest number at 2024 cases and Tamil Nadu comes next at 999 cases.
“This could mean both laxity of the authorities and greater consciousness of rights among Dalits,” an NCSC official said. (With inputs from Nistula Hebbar)