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 the Crime in India 2020 report.
The 2020 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report on atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis, shows that a large proportion of crimes against Dalits and Adivasis involves crime against women.
Data on crimes against Dalits and Adivasis draws a distinct pattern of similarity between rural and urban spaces.
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, NCSPA, the umbrella body of Dalit, Adivasi groups said.
Atrocities against Scheduled Castes 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 Dalits 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 Dalits in Delhi, Chhattarpur, M.P and Bijnaur, U.P, reflect the harsh realities at the grassroots.
Crime against Scheduled Tribes has increased by 8.4% in 2020 (8272) over 2019 (7570).
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% (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 of atrocities against Adivasis.
Dalit, Adivasi women at receiving end
Cases of rape against Dalit 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 Adivasi 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 Scheduled Caste. Similarly, for Scheduled Tribes, these cases were reported as 172,144 and 125 respectively.
When the country was still pleading for justice for Dalit women, incidents of violence against Dalit Women in Delhi, Chhattarpur, Bijnaur emerged as a shock for the nation.
A total of 68456 cases of atrocities against Dalits were pending investigation at the end of the year 2020, including previous year cases.
Similarly, 11200 Cases of atrocities against Adivasis were pending investigation.
A total of 48560 cases of atrocities against SCs and 7840 Cases of atrocities against STs were disposed off by police.
The charge sheeting percentage for the atrocities against Scheduled Castes ended with 80.6% and 82.7% for Scheduled Tribes.
In the court
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 %.
Shoddy law and governance
While analysing the government data, the Dalit Adivasi groups said that the new provisions of SCs and STs (PoA) Amendment Act 2015 are not being enforced in a proper manner even after the passage of more than 5 years.
“Even after the amendments came into force in the year 2016, which generated 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,” reads an official note by National Coalition for Strengthening SCs and STs (PoA) Act (NCSPA).
With the audacity with which crimes are conducted it is very much evident that there is a complete absence of fear, they said.
Shoddy law and governance are very much responsible for encouraging the perpetrators to get away with the crimes, according to NCSPA.
The body has called upon the union government to enforce and implement the new provisions of the amended SCs and STs (PoA) Act 1989 and to take swift and robust action against the dominant caste perpetrators violating the human rights of Dalits and Adivasis.
It also urged authorities to 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.
NCSPA also demanded the implementation of the Exclusive Special Courts mandated in the amended act for speedy trials.
The group said, on behalf of Dalit and Adivasis communities they assure the union government, political parties elected representatives that they will not stand for continued inequality.
“We want immediate action to end atrocities against Dalit and Adivasis and have grown in awareness enough not to trust mere promises declarations. Dalit leaders across the country are setting out on a common mission to end this deliberate delay. We will not rest until elected representatives and political parties take responsibility for this failure and take action on the promises that have earned them the power,” read a statement by Rahul Singh, secretariat In-charge of NCSPA and general secretary of National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ)-NCDHR.