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Increasing atrocities against Scheduled Castes

There is a 17 per cent increase in registered cases of atrocities against members of the Scheduled Castes in 2013 as compared to the figures in 2012 and the conviction rate is around 23 per cent, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot said on Friday.

He was speaking at a two-day conference of ministers and principal secretaries dealing with Scheduled Castes, Other Backward Classes, senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

Mr. Gehlot said the government had made some amendments to strengthen the Prevention of Atrocities Act and he appealed to the states to implement the law so that quick action could be taken in cases and the aggrieved parties could get compensation.

The Central government had many welfare schemes for the Scheduled Castes but the states were not utilising the funds allocated in the sub plans while some states were under utilising it, he said. The Centre allotted funds for specific programmes and states should ensure that they were utilised only for that purpose, he added. Funds could also not be released on time since states had not submitted their utilisation certificates on time.

In 2011, there were 39,401 cases registered under the Atrocities Act. The number increased to 39,512 in 2012 and jumped to 46,114 in 2013, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Ten states accounted for over 90 per cent of the cases and Rajasthan has the maximum with 8,126 cases in 2013; Uttar Pradesh follows with 7,103; Bihar with 6,812 cases; Madhya Pradesh with 4,241 cases and Orissa with 3,382 cases.

There were 3,076 cases registered in Karnataka; 2,064 in Maharashtra; 1,867 in Tamil Nadu and 1,414 in Gujarat. The percentage of pendency of cases has increased from 79.9 per cent in 2011 to 84.1 per cent in 2013.

Low rate of disposal of cases were observed in Bihar at 12.1 per cent; Maharashtra with 10 per cent; Kerala 11.7 per cent; Gujarat 10.2 per cent; Himachal Pradesh 17.6 per cent; and Karnataka 21.8 per cent.

Bihar has 11 courts to deal exclusively with crimes under the Atrocities Act, while Kerala has two and Karnataka eight. Gujarat has 25 such courts while Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh have none.

Madhya Pradesh is the first state in the country to have police stations dedicated to crimes under the Atrocities Act in all its districts with a deputy superintendent of police deputed to investigate the cases. Forty-five special courts have also been set up in the state.

While the conviction rate for cognizable crimes under the Indian Penal Code is 40.2 per cent in 2013, for the Atrocities Act it is 22.8 in 2013, down from 30 per cent in 2011. Only three states — Haryana, Maharashtra and Tripura — have set up sub-division level committees for review of implementation of the Atrocities Act and relief and rehabilitation of victims.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 11:51:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/increasing-atrocities-against-scheduled-castes/article6344657.ece

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