Monday, May 05, 2014

Good governance? Gujarat's conviction rate in anti-Dalit cases is poorer than Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh

Conviction rate in anti-atrocity cases (%)
By Our Representative
Well-known Dalit rights activist Manjula Pradeep, releasing fresh data suggesting Gujarat’s failure to take care of the scheduled castes (SCs), has alleged that the “progressive” state is far behind the two “backward” neighbouring states, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, in implementing the anti-atrocities Act. The Act envisages stringent punishment to those involved in acts of oppression against Dalits and tribals. “The conviction rate of those found involved in violating the law is just about 7.8 per cent in Gujarat, as against 29 per cent in Madhya Pradesh and 41 per cent in Rajasthan”, she declared.
Pradeep, who heads NGO Navsarjan Trust, said in a statement, “Data between 2006 and 2013 reveal that every year on an average 18 Dalits are killed in Gujarat, 37 Dalit women are raped, 52 Dalits suffer serious injury at the hand of higher castes, and 1,029 families are subjected to one of another form of atrocity.” Taking a direct snipe at BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s governance claims, she added, “As many as 11 districts in the state have been declared sensitive from the point of view of anti-Dalit atrocities.”
Giving specific instances, Pradeep said, “Over the last two years, Dalits were burnt alive in Akolali, Shekhpar and Amraiwadi; there were deaths in police firing in Thangarh; Dalits youths were hacked to death by mobs in Rethal, Loliya and Timba; cases of death due to asphyxiation in manholes were registered in Unza; and number of instances of forced migration of Dalits from their permanent place of living have gone up drastically.”
Manjula Pradeep
“Despite so many cases, the Gujarat chief minister has no time monitor atrocities”, Pradeep alleged, adding, “As against the provision of holding at least two meetings a year, or 26 meetings in 13 years of his rule, he has taken just six meetings. This can be interpreted as violation of the constitutional norm. And all this happened despite the fact that, between 2006 and 2013, as many as 8,884 cases of atrocities against Dalits have come to light, including 145 deaths, 295 rapes, and 419 serious injuries”.
Pointing out that Modi’s “good governance” claims stand exposed, Pradeep said, there were 109 cases when Dalits were forcibly driven out of their villages because of high caste oppression. All this is happening at a time when the state government is refusing to fill up administrative posts to fight atrocity cases. “As against 175 posts in district police administration, 81 posts are vacant”, she said, adding, “Out of 32 posts of deputy superintendent of police, 22 are vacant. For years, postings been made on 23 of 24 posts of PSI under the social welfare department.”
Pradeep further said, under the anti-atrocities Act, special courts have been formed in Rajasthan, and all cases related with atrocities against Dalits and tribals are taken to these courts in order to ensure their quick conclusion. “In Gujarat, on other hand, only when an anti-atrocities case is taken up by a court, it is converted into a special court. This delays conviction. Not without reason, in Gujarat, as many as 42.47 per cent such cases are pending without conclusion for between three to 10 years.”

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