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Crimes against Dalits increased by 6 percent between 2009 and 2018: report

Dalits staging a protest in Raichur on Friday against the murder of a youth in Vijayapura district.  

Crimes against Dalits increased by 6% from 2009 to 2018 with over 3.91 lakh atrocities being reported, at the same time gaps in implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 and the 1995 rules framed under it remained, according to a report released on Friday.

The report, titled ‘Quest for Justice’, by the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ) - National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights, assessed the implementation of the Act as well as the data of crimes against SC and ST people as recorded by the National Crime Records Bureau from 2009 till 2018.

The report said the crime rate against those belonging to Scheduled Tribes recorded a decrease of around 1.6%, with a total of 72,367 crimes being recorded in 2009-2018. The report also flagged the rise in violence against Dalit and Adivasi women.

“Dalit women often bear the brunt of violence in the hand of dominant caste; violence as grave as physical violence, sexual violence and witch branding. In the COVID 19 pandemic also Dalit women witnessed various forms of atrocities….In the last five years, out of a total 2,05,146 registered crimes against Scheduled Castes under the PoA (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, a total of 41,867 cases (20.40%) were related to violence against Scheduled Caste women,” the report said.

The report also highlighted the challenges faced by victims when it came to getting an FIR filed, followed by a large number of pending cases over the years.

“On average 88.5% of cases under PoA Act remain pending trial during 2009 to 2018,” it said.

Releasing the report, former Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan said there were a large number of cases pending in every court and with the criminal justice system as it is today, “it is difficult to have a very bright picture of the implementation”. He said the Act had a “social mission” and that education would be key to changing social conditions.

Dr. V. A. Ramesh Nathan, general secretary of the NDMJ, said the report was an answer to those people calling for repealing the Act, alleging misuse of its provisions.

Speaking to The Hindu after the virtual launch, he said the State had failed to protect the Dalit and Adivasi communities, despite the legal mechanism being in place. “It looks like the State lacks political will and is taking the side of the perpetrators,” he said.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 3:39:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/report-flags-increase-in-crimes-against-dalits/article32584803.ece

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