One incident of murder or attempt-to-murder is committed against Scheduled Castes (SC) or Scheduled Tribes (ST) people once in three days in the State and an SC or ST woman is raped every two days on an average, according to the Karnataka State Annual Monitoring Report on the Implementation of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, in Karnataka.
The report that was released in Bengaluru on Wednesday has been prepared by the Committee for Monitoring and Strengthening SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in Karnataka (CMASK) and the Karnataka Dalita Mahila Vedike (KDMV), in collaboration with the Social Welfare Department.
“It’s a matter of shame that Karnataka continues to hold the top place for the rate of atrocities against SCs and STs even according to the National Crime Records Bureau report for 2017, which was released in October this year. We are concerned that the number of crimes committed in 2018 were 2,140, which amounts to about four or five atrocities a day or one crime every five hours,” said P. Yashoda, State convenor of CMASK and KDMV.
“There were 164 rape cases and 122 attempt-to-murder or murders reported during 2018 against SC/STs,” she said.
On the poor rate of conviction, the report said that total cases disposed of in 2018 was 1,087, with only 46 convictions. While 874 ended up in acquittal, the remaining 167 cases were disposed of in other ways. The conviction rate was just 4.23%, whereas 80.4% was the acquittal rate. However, filing of ‘B’ reports decreased by 4.1% this year compared to the past years (2015-16.34%, 2016-18.16%, and 2017-17.52%). While 10 districts have given zero per cent conviction, overall around 1,205 cases have remained undisposed of/pending cases. This is nearly 68.81% of cases during 2018.
Too few meetings
“Only 11 districts have conducted the mandatory four district-level meetings of the District Vigilance and Monitoring Committee meetings in 2018 as per the rule. The remaining districts have conducted either two or three meetings or just one. Similarly, at the State level, the State Vigilance and Monitoring Committee (SVMC) has not conducted any meetings during the year against the mandatory two meetings,” Ms. Yashoda added.
The report recommends establishing special courts in all 30 districts of Karnataka. This and 19 other recommendations will be submitted to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who is the chairperson SVMC.
Bengaluru Urban sees highest atrocity cases
Bengaluru Urban district continues to take the top place for the 7th year, with 163 atrocity cases against SC and ST communities, the highest reported during 2018. This is because more number of people report cases here thanks to greater awareness about the legislation, says the report.
P. Yashoda said that although Bengaluru is a metropolitan city, untouchability is still rampant here. “No house owner wants to rent houses to a SC/ST community member. Most civic workers (pourakarmikas) belong to this community and even in this age, if they ask for drinking water, they are given it in a discarded mug. Due to increased awareness about the legislation, more number of people file cases here,” she said.
“It is reported that around 33.12% cases of atrocities are pending without acquittal or conviction in the district,” she said. The report sought establishment of exclusive special courts in Benglauru Urban and Bengaluru Rural districts.