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Anti-Dalit atrocities increase 9.4% despite pandemic, Uttar Pradesh tops the list: Report

By Rahul Singh*
Data on crime against Dalits and Adivasis in the Crime In India Report, 2020 draws a distinct pattern of similarity between rural and urban spaces. Published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), they capture some anomalies and interesting trends. The report also shows that a large proportion of crimes against Dalits and Adivasis involves crime against women.
The report reveals that atrocities/crime against Scheduled Castes have increased by 9.4% in 2020 (50,291) over 2019 (45,935). Uttar Pradesh (12,714 cases) reported the highest number of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SCs) accounting for 25.2% followed by Bihar with 14.6% (7368) and Rajasthan with 13.9% (7017) during 2020.
The next two states in the list are Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra accounting for 13.7% (6899) and Maharashtra 5.1% (2569). The above top five states reported 72.5% of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes. The recent incidents of atrocities against Scheduled Castes in Delhi, Chhattarpur, M.P and Bijnaur, U.P, reflects the harsh realities at the grass roots.
Atrocities/crimes against Scheduled Tribes have increased by 8.4% in 2020 (8,272) over 2019 (7,570). Madhya Pradesh (2401, cases) reported the highest number of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Tribes (STs) accounting for 29.02% followed by Rajasthan with 22.7% (1,878 cases) and Maharashtra with 8.01% (663 cases) during 2020.Odisha was next in the list with 7.54% (624) followed by Telangana at 6.9% (573). The above top five states reported 74.17% of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Tribes.
Cases of rape against schedule caste women account for 6.70% (3372 cases) of the total cases reported. Cases of rape, attempt to rape and assault on women to outrage her modesty cumulatively stood at 12.6% (6835). Similarly, cases of rape against Schedule Tribe women stood at 13.7% (1,137 cases) of the total cases reported. Cases of rape, attempt to rape and assault on women to outrage her modesty cumulatively stood at 24.7% (2,047).
Cases of murder, attempt to murder and grievous hurt were reported as 855, 119 and 1,587 respectively against Scheduled Caste. Similarly for Scheduled Tribes, cases of murder, attempt to murder and grievous hurt were reported as 172, 144 and 125 respectively. When the country was still pleading for the justice for Dalit women, incidents of violence against Dalit Women in Delhi, Chhattarpur, Bijnaur emerged as a shock for the nation.
Even after more than five years of passage of new provisions, SCs and STs (PoA) Amendment Act is not being enforced in a proper manner
Total of 68,456 cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes were pending for investigation at the end of the year 2020, including previous year cases. Similarly, 11,200 Cases of atrocities against Schedule Tribe were pending for investigation. A total of 48,560 cases of atrocities against SCs and 7840 Cases of atrocities against STs were disposed off by police. Charge sheeting percentage for the atrocities against Scheduled Castes ended with 80.6% and 82.7% for Scheduled Tribes.
A total of 2,30,653 cases of atrocities against SCs and 36652 cases of atrocities against STs came for trial in the court. Out of these cases, trials in 7,637 of atrocities against SCs were completed and 1,219 cases for STs. Conviction percentage under the SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in conjunction with IPC remained at 42.4% for SCs and 28.5 % for STs.
The acquittal percentage (includes acquittal as well as the cases where the accused is discharged) ended with 57.5% for SCs and 71.5% for STs. At the end of the year 96.7 % of cases of atrocities against SCs were pending whereas for STs, the percentage stood at 96.6 %.
Even after the amendments came in force in year 2016, which generated a hope to the Dalit and Adivasis victims in accessing speedy justice, again the concern remains is the implementation of the amended SCs and STs (PoA) Amended Act 2015 as the experience says that even after the passage of more than five years the new provisions of SCs and STs (PoA) Amendment Act 2015 are not being enforced in a proper manner.
With the audacity with which crimes are conducted it is very much evident that there is complete absence of fear. Shoddy law and governance is very much responsible for encouraging the perpetrators to get away with the crimes.
Escalating atrocities against Dalit and Adivasis across the country even in pandemic shows that Dalits and Adivasis communities are still suffering from inhuman atrocities like murders and mass- murders, social boycott and economic boycott, mass arsons, rapes, gang rapes etc. These are only a few examples, large number of the cases go unreported and are often compromised.
The Government of India that they must:
  • Robustly, enforce and implement the new provisions of the amended SCs and STs (PoA) Act 1989.
  • Take swift and robust action against the dominant caste perpetrators violating the human rights of Dalits and Adivasis.
  • Conduct an open and transparent investigation under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 and prosecute those Government and police officials who are found to have aided and abetted criminals.
  • Robustly implement the exclusive special courts mandated in the amended act for speedy trials.
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*General Secretary, National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ)-NCDHR & Secretariat In-charge, National Coalition for Strengthening the POA Act and Its Implementation (NCSPA)

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