Despite change in the administration at the Fort St. George, crimes and atrocities against the SC/ST had only risen in Tamil Nadu, according to a revelation from the RTI Act, said Evidence executive director A. Kathir here on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters, he said that the Evidence team was engaged in collection of data from the RTI over the last six months on various heads. The volunteers and resource persons compiled the data received and examined them in a scientific manner. The comparison of the data with the previous two years (2019 and 2020) showed that there was a rise in 2021 against the SCs, especially, on women and children.
It was unfortunate that out of 38 districts in the State, officials from Namakkal, Dindigul, Ranipet and Tiruvallur had not given any information. As per the RTI Act, it was a violation, Mr. Kathir pointed and added that officials in Karur, Erode, Pudukottai, Sivaganga, Villupuram and Krishnagiri districts shared minimum information and failed to respond to all the queries. Only Chengalpattu with Kancheepuram as integrated district shared all information asked by the Evidence team.
Expressing disappointment, Mr. Kathir said that with the non-receipt of information and partial information from some of the districts, they could not arrive at a figure with precision. However, he said that Madurai topped the table in Tamil Nadu with highest number of atrocities against the SCs, followed by Thanjavur, Tiruchi, Pudukottai, Sivaganga, Salem, Thiruvannamalai, Theni, Ramanathapuram and Villupuram.
He said that grave cases, for which punishment was over seven years, alone accounted for 609 in 2021 from the above 32 districts. It was shocking to note that the conviction rate was only around 5 to 7 % for the accused under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.
Hence, the Evidence urged the Tamil Nadu government to immediately set up special courts to try the cases under the SC/ST Act in all the 38 districts as only in 50 % of the districts, the special courts functioned.
While welcoming the Tamil Nadu government’s initiatives and the formation of a high-level committee comprising 63 members, he stressed that Chief Minister should convene the meeting at periodic intervals and discuss the modalities, which alone would pave way for prevention of crimes against the SCs.
Like the Union government’s initiative, the State government should also open a special toll-free number for the victims to lodge the complaints and wanted to fill vacancies in the judicial officers and police departments to register FIRs swiftly.