A group of over 90 disability rights organisations, activists and academics has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, urging that the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) maintain data of the violent crimes committed against persons with disabilities.
In their letter to Mr. Shah on Wednesday, the activists said they were “dismayed by the fact that despite the large number of reported cases of sexual assaults on disabled girls/women, the NCRB does not maintain disaggregated data on such violence, as a separate category”.
They said they had raised the matter with the government, including the Ministries of Women and Child Development and Social Justice and Empowerment, but to no avail.
The group said the United Nations committee monitoring the implementation of the U.N. Convention on Rights of PwD had recommended to the government in September 2019 to ensure that the NCRB collected disaggregated data by sex, age, place of residence, relationship with perpetrator and disability in case of violence and exploitation of women and girls with disabilities. The National Human Rights Commission too had recommended recently that the NCRB should maintain data on PwD.
“The maintenance of such data, you will appreciate, will enable policy-makers in particular, and other stakeholders in general, to formulate strategies and mechanisms to respond to their particular needs, which can be disability specific, in facilitating access to the criminal justice system, among other things,” the letter stated.
‘Issue is urgent’
They issue was urgent as the number of such cases were on the rise, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It defies logic as to why the NCRB, which is mandated to function as a national repository of crime and criminal related data in the country, does not maintain such data. Unfortunately, the NCRB, in response to a RTI query as late as December 2020, has sought to take refuge behind the specious plea that ‘police is a State Subject under the 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution’. By that reasoning, NCRB should not be collating data for most of the crimes, as law and order is a state subject!,” it said.
The group asked the Minister to issue orders to the NCRB for maintaining data of “sex, age, place of residence, relationship with perpetrator and disability in cases of violence and exploitation, including gender-based violence against women and girls with disabilities, and violence inflicted by intimate partners”.
Among the 92 signatories were National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled general secretary Muralidharan, National Association for the Blind honorary secretary S.K. Singh, All-India Federation of the Deaf general secretary V. Gopalakrishnan and activists Brinda Adige and Dr. Satendra Singh.