Villupuram records highest number of atrocities against Dalits: study

Sivaganga tops in pendency in court with 395 cases followed by 358 in Madurai

Updated - November 16, 2021 11:59 pm IST

Published - November 04, 2011 09:22 am IST - NAGAPATTINAM:

The statistics on crimes against weaker sections released by the State Crime Records Bureau point out that the atrocities against Dalits do not overwhelmingly hinge on the strength of their population in a specific geographical area.

Pitching a field study on the SCRB data, Madurai-based Evidence, a Dalit rights organisation, has inferred under-recording of Dalit atrocities, even though atrocities against Dalits were independent of the strength of their population.

The SCRB-released data had the following statistics. Villupuram, with largest Dalit population in State, has recorded the highest number of atrocities against Dalits with 103 cases; Virudhunagar with 14{+t}{+h} position in Dalit population recording 99 cases; followed by Madurai (excluding Madurai Corporation) with 28{+t}{+h} position in Dalit population recording 93 cases. The report says Vellore, with second largest Dalit population, recorded 27 incidents and Nilgiris in the 19{+t}{+h} position on atrocity.

However, the field survey by Evidence has recorded gross under-recording of violence against women and children under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act, 1989.

The statistics for an 18-month period from January 2010 to June 2011 point to over 66 incidents of atrocities against women and children. Of these 33 cases, accounting for 50 per cent of cases, fall under rape and sexual harassment.

“The SCRB had recorded just about 24 rape cases under the SC/ST (POA) Act. However, the field study we conducted in just 40 villages of the State revealed nine rape incidents during the same period that went unrecorded under the SC/ST (POA) Act,” says Kathir, Director, Evidence.

Of an average of 1.75 lakh cases registered annually in Tamil Nadu, only 1664 cases (1631 cases on Dalit atrocities and 33 on Tribals) were registered in 2010 under the Act.

According to Mr. Kathir, the State-level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee, mandated to meet every six months to ascertain the functioning of the SC/ST (POA) Act had met just once in 2010 in the last five years.

Pitching its research inference on the SCRB data, the study points to low conviction rates and high pendency rates under the SC/ST (POA) Act.

Despite under-reporting and under-recording of atrocities against Dalits, the conviction rates in crimes against Dalits stood as low as 5 per cent; and at 5.8 per cent conviction in Dalit rapes, with acquittals at 95 per cent.

As of 2010, pendency of cases under the Act stood at 2,092.

Sivaganga has topped in pendency in court with 395 cases; followed by 358 in Madurai; 343 in Villupuram; 277 in Tirunelveli and 205 in Virudhunagar.

The study states that Dalits are pitched against embedded institutional biases at every stage from the recording of complaint up to prosecution and conviction.

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