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Wednesday, 9 February 2011

U.P. Tops in Atrocities against Dalits

U.P. tops in atrocities against Dalits
S.R.Darapuri

Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) has earned the dubious distinction of being a state where the highest numbers of atrocities have been committed against the Dalits (Scheduled Castes) for the last many years. It is in spite of the fact that this state is being ruled by a Dalit Chief Minister for the fourth time who is going to complete her fourth year in office. U.P. has the largest Dalit population in India numbering about 35.1 million and nearly 21.5% of total state population.
In a state being ruled by a Dalit Chief Minister the general expectation is that the Dalit population might be getting full protection of law and the number of atrocities against them should be much lower than in other states. But the ground reality is quite different.
The number of atrocities against Dalits in U.P. has been the highest for the last many years. The state government has recently claimed that crimes against Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) have come down in U.P. considerably if compared to other states. The latest crime figures released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) under "Crime In India - 2009" again show that U.P. still tops in crime against Dalits. This picture emerges from the figures of crime given out by NCRB as shown below:

Incidence of Crime:
The report states that during the year 2009 the number of crimes against Dalits at national level was 33,594. In this figure the share of Uttar Pradesh was 22.4% followed by Rajasthan (14.8%). Thus U.P. tops in total incidence of crime against Dalits.

Murder:
A total of 624 cases were reported in the country during 2009. U.P. has accounted for 37.7% of the total Murder cases reported in the country i.e. 235 out of 624. Here also U.P. is on the top.

Rape:
A total of 1, 346 cases of Rape of women belonging to SC/ST were reported in the country during 2009. Madhya Pradesh has reported 321 cases accounting for 23.8% of total cases. U.P. stands just slightly behind with a figure of 317 cases i.e. 23.6% of total Rape cases.

Kidnapping and Abduction:
A total of 512 cases of Kidnapping and Abduction of SC/STs were reported during the year 2009 showing an increase of 6.2% over 2008. U.P. alone has reported 254 (49.6%) during 2009 i.e. nearly half of the crime figure at the national level. Here again U.P. is on the top.

Arson:
At the national level 195 cases of Arson were reported. Bihar has reported the highest 40 number of cases followed by Rajasthan (39) and U.P.( 38) and Madhya Pradesh (31). Here also U.P. is just a little behind other states.

Protection Civil Rights Act:
A total of 168 cases were reported in 2009. U.P. has reported the highest 61 number of cases followed by Andhra Pradesh (39). These two states accounted for 59.5% of total cases reported in the country.

SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act:
A total of 11,143 cases were reported under this Act in 2009. U.P. has reported 2,554 cases accounting for 22.9% of the total cases in the country followed by Bihar (22.7%).

Now it becomes imperative to find out the reasons for the high incidence of crime against Dalits in U.P. The first reason is that unfortunately the implementation of the laws relating to registration and investigation of cases relating to atrocities on Dalits are not being implemented properly. The obsession of the present Chief Minister to show a decrease in crime against Dalits is giving leverage to the police for non registration of cases. This leads to burking of atrocity crimes which can be seen from the frequent complaints of non registration of cases appearing in the daily news papers. The crime review based on crime statistics forces the police to keep the crime figures low to put up a crime control picture. The result is that the statistics given out by the police are only a fraction of the actual incidence of crime. Thus the Dalit atrocities remain unaccounted and uncared for making the victims to suffer haplessly.

The second reason is non application of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocity Act-1989 to the crimes committed against Dalits. It is well-known that Mayawati had stopped the application of this Act in 1997 under the pretext of checking its misuse. Actually it was a ploy to please her high caste followers who frequently resort to such atrocities. She had issued arbitrarily a government order to this effect. She directed the police to apply this Act in murder and rape cases only and that too after medical examination and preliminary enquiry. All other atrocity cases were ordered to be registered under normal laws i.e. Indian Penal Code and other Acts. Although this order was withdrawn in 2003 but the practice continues unabated. The victims have to approach the court frequently to get their cases registered. Only a few victims are able to take help from the court and majority fails to get this relief. Thus a very large number of atrocity cases go unregistered under this Act. The result is that the culprits go scot free and the victims get no help from police. The non registration of atrocity cases results in double loss to the victims. Firstly the culprits are not punished and secondly Dalits get no monetary compensation as admissible under the rules for the loss suffered by them. Thus Dalits suffer a double jeopardy.

Thirdly the policy of pleasing the Sarvjan (high castes) followed by Mayawati makes her lenient towards them. It is true that a large number of persons with criminal records have joined Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and have become MLAs and MPs. At present about a dozen MPs and MLAs of the ruling party (BSP) are involved in rape and abduction cases which mostly concern Dalit women and girls. Police is generally afraid of touching these influential persons. Only such cases get registered which get exposed in media and the government has to yield to public pressure.

From the above brief discussion it transpires that U.P. tops in atrocities against Dalits notwithstanding the fact that it is being ruled by a Dalit Chief Minister for the fourth term and she is about to complete her fourth year in chair. But the atrocities against Dalits are going on unabated. The out burst of women and Dalits against Mayawati during her recent field visits is an indicator that Maywaati has failed to bring relief to Dalits and common citizens. It may lead to a back lash during the coming Assembly elections in 2012.