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As Bharat Bandh takes off, "Brahminical" attitude of BJP blamed for apex court ruling on anti-atrocities Act

Bharat Bandh: Madhya Pradesh
By Our Representative
Even as the national call for action Bharat bandh against the Supreme Court allegedly diluting provisions of the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act takes off, India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) has said that the apex court judgment is in line with what the "Brahminical attitude of the BJP governments at the Centre and several states of India."
Demanding immediate action against the apex court ruling, which says that the POA Act is being "misused" to blackmail innocent individuals, NAPM in a statement has said that there is an urgent need to improve the "criminal justice system" in order to "ensure better implementation of the POA Act and conviction of perpetrators of atrocities on Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims."
NAPM regrets, the apex court ruling comes at a time "when abuses and atrocities against Dalits, Adivasis and Minorities have increased manifold, with the saffronized governments both at the Centre and in many states is looking the other way round." It adds, "Instead of containing these atrocities, regressive forces are relentlessly undermining the democratic right of reservation to the oppressed sections."
NAPM says, the March 20 order of the division bench of the Supreme Court, "diluting the already weakly implemented PoA Act, 1989, is nothing short of a direct attack on a piece of legislation that tries to uphold our constitutional ethos of protection of marginalized sections."
NAPM says, the fact is, the need for "a specific Central atrocities Act attained fruition in 1989 after protracted struggles, because even four decades since independence and an equal Constitution, brutal everyday crimes against Dalits and Adivasis remained largely unreported, unaddressed and unpunished."
According to NAPM, "Instead of looking at the entirety of the mounting atrocities and status of implementation of the Act, reflected even by the National Crime Record Bueau's (NCRBs) own data, the apex court chose to selectively issue guidelines on the need to 'safeguard innocent persons against false implication and unnecessary arrest'."
Bharat Bandh: Jamnagar district, Gujarat
It said that (a) FIR should not be filed without preliminary inquiry, to be completed within a week, and report must give reasons when permission is given for registration of FIR, (b) even if preliminary inquiry is held and a case is registered, arrest is not necessary, (c) no public servant is to be arrested without written permission of appointing authority, and (d) no person accused under the Act can be arrested without the written permission of the district police authorities.
NAPM believes, "In a land where registration of FIR is still a challenge for the oppressed and marginalized, what to speak of charge sheets and convictions, this judgement, based on partial reading of the NCRB data and prejudice, if not set aside, is bound to cause serious damage to the dignity and well-being of lakhs of Dalits and Adivasis across the country, who despite a POA Act are exposed to humiliation and hate crimes."
Pointing out that the data put forward by the apex court "is only a minuscule reflection of the large number of actual crimes across the country", NAPM quotes from the 2017 NCRB report, which reveals that the number of cases reported under the PoA Act rose by 5.5% to reach 40,801 in 2016. "In 2016, Uttar Pradesh (10,426 cases) reported the highest number of cases of atrocities against SCs, accounting for 25.6% of the total, followed by Bihar with 14% (5,701 cases) and Rajasthan with 12.6% (5,134 cases)."
Especially referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state, NAPM say, "The conviction rate of crimes against SCs and STs is way below the national average in Vibrant Gujarat, which despite the Una uprising is witness to gruesome atrocities to this day, including the killing of a Dalit man in Bhavnagar district for riding a horse!"
It further says, "The disposal of cases by police and courts reveal that under the POA Act, 11,060 cases were taken up for investigation in 2016, but the charge-sheeting rate was 77%, the conviction rate was 15.4%, while the pendency percentage was 90.5%. The data clearly shows how difficult it is to access and obtain justice within the Brahminical system which is deep within the administration as well as every sphere of life."
In support of Bharat Bandh:
Viramgam, Ahmedabad district
"While different parties such as the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Republican Party of India (RPI) have already filed separate review petitions against the Supreme Courts order, we think the Central government must immediately file a categorical review petition, praying that no dilution to the Act be permitted", NAPM says.
"The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) have also conveyed their views and demanded a review of the verdict, saying the original Act, as it existed before the apex court verdict, should be restored. We demand that Parliament must discuss this issue urgently and come up with solutions to prevent any dilution of the Act", insists NAPM.
The statement has been signed, among others, by well-known social activist Medha Patkar, former Sonia Gandhi adviser and Right to Information campaigner Aruna Roy, and Goldman Environmental prize (also known as Green Nobel) winner Prafulla Samantara, among about 50 top civil rights leaders.

Comments

Urvashi Devi said…
Can't understand why you all keep blaming the BJP ? It's been like this for decades . I can recall that in my grand mother's elections (maharani Gayatri Devi )one of things we went on and on about treating Dalits like human beings . In Rajasthan they couldn't use the same well , we used to drink water in a Dalit home just to say it's alright . So it's not the BJP it's the ancient mindset

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