By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: “India witnessed an alarming 9.4% increase in the cases of atrocities against Dalit and Adivasi communities in the last one year under pandemic. Uttar Pradesh reported the highest number of cases accounting for 25.2% followed by Bihar with 14.6% and Rajasthan with 13.9% , Madhya Pradesh with 13.7% and Maharashtra with 5.1%. These top five states account for 72.5% of cases of atrocities”. This was revealed in ‘The Crime in India Report 2020’.
It further revealed that pandemic was used by various authorities and officers to ignore the cases of atrocities against SCs and STs.
According to the Report:
1-Atrocities/Crime against SCs have increased by 9.4% in 2020 (50291) 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 5.1% (2569) respectively. The above top five states reported 72.5% of cases of atrocities. The recent incidents of atrocities in Delhi, Chhattarpur, M.P and Bijnor, U.P, reflects the harsh realities at the grass roots.
2-Atrocities/Crime against Scheduled Tribes have increased by 8.4% in 2020 (8272) over 2019 (7570). Madhya Pradesh (2401, cases) reported the highest number of cases accounting for 29.02% followed by Rajasthan with 22.7% (1878 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.
3- Cases of Rape against SC 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 ST women stood at 13.7% (1137 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% (2047). Cases of Murder, Attempt to murder and Grievous hurt were reported as 855, 119 and 1587 respectively against S Cs. Similarly for STs the number is 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, and Bijnaur emerged as a shock for the nation.
4-Total of 68456 cases of atrocities against SCs were pending for investigation at the end of the year 2020, including previous year cases. Similarly, 11200 cases of STs were pending for investigation. A total of 48560 cases of atrocities against SCs and 7840 Cases of atrocities against STs were disposed off by police. Charge sheeting percentage for the atrocities against SCs ended with 80.6% and 82.7% for STs.
5-A total of 230653 cases of atrocities against SCs and 36652 cases of atrocities against STs came for trial in the court. Out of these cases, trials in 7637 of atrocities against SCs were completed and 1219 cases for STs.
Conviction percentage under the SCs and STs (PoA) 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 5 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.
Data on crimes against Dalits and Adivasis draws a distinct pattern of similarity between rural and urban spaces. The latest data published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) also captures some anomalies and interesting trends. The 2020 NCRB report on atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis, shows that a large proportion of crimes against Dalits and Adivasis involves crime against women.
National Coalition for Strengthening SCs and STs (PoA) Act (NCSPA) – a platform of more than 500 Dalits and Adivasis civil society organisations, communities, leaders and activists- welcomes the release of Crime in India 2020 Report.
The National Coalition calls upon the Government of India to 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; conduct an open and transparent investigation under the SCs and the STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 and prosecute those Government and police officials who are found to have aided and abetted criminals.