Despite explicit constitutional provision and guidelines, the suffering of Dalits and Adivasi communities across India remains the worst, according to newly released NCRB data.
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. Every year there is an increase in atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis. Even the 2021 Crime data shows the similar trend of upsurge in violence; with large proportion of crimes against Dalits and Adivasi women and children.
“This community is not only the victim of this scourge caste system, but also face institutional discrimination and social exclusion,” read a statement by 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.
Atrocities against Dalits
Atrocities/Crime against Scheduled Castes have increased by 1.2% in 2021 (50900) over 2020 (50,291 cases).
Uttar Pradesh (13,146 cases) reported the highest number of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SCs) accounting for 25.82% followed by Rajasthan with 14.7% (7524) and Madhya Pradesh with 14.1% (7214) during 2021. The next two states in the list are Bihar accounting for 11.4% (5842) and Odisha 4.5% (2327).
The above top five states reported 70.8% of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes.
The recent incidents of atrocities against Scheduled Castes in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana reflects the harsh realities of caste based violence against SCs and STs, said the group.
Violence against Adivasis
Atrocities/Crime against Scheduled Tribes have increased by 6.4% in 2021 (8,802 cases) over 2020 (8,272 cases).
Madhya Pradesh (2627, cases) reported the highest number of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Tribes (STs) accounting for 29.8% followed by Rajasthan with 24% (2121 cases) and Odisha with 7.6% (676 cases) during 2021.
Maharashtra was next in the list with 7.13% (628 cases) followed by Telangana at 5.81% (512 cases). The above top five states reported 74.57% of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Tribes.
Dalit and Adivasi women at the receiving end
Cases of Rape against Schedule caste women, (including minors) account for 7.64% (3893 cases), with 2585 cases of Rape against Dalit Women and 1285 cases of minor rape, of the total cases reported.
Cases of Rape, Attempt to rape, Assault on women to outrage her modesty and Kidnapping of women and minors cumulatively stood at 16.8% (8570 cases).
Cases of Rape against Schedule Tribe women stood at 15% (1324 cases) of the total cases reported. Cases of Rape, Attempt to rape, Assault on women to outrage her modesty, and kidnapping cumulatively stood at 26.8% (2364 cases).
Cases of Murder, Attempt to murder and Grievous hurt were reported as 967, 916 and 1286 respectively against Scheduled Caste. Similarly for Scheduled Tribes, Cases of Murder, Attempt to murder and Grievous hurt were reported as 199,148 and 114 respectively.
A total of 70818 cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes were pending for investigation at the end of the year 2021, including previous year cases.
Similarly, 12159 Cases of atrocities against Schedule Tribe were pending for investigation.
A total of 52159 cases of atrocities against SCs and 8825 Cases of atrocities against STs were disposed off by police.
Charge sheeting percentage for the atrocities against Scheduled Castes ended with 80.0% and 81.4% for Scheduled Tribes.
A total of 263512 cases of atrocities against SCs and 42512 cases of atrocities against STs came for trial in the court. Out of these cases, trials in 10108 of atrocities against SCs were completed and 1947 cases for STs.
Conviction percentage under the SCs and STs (PoA) Act in conjunction with IPC remained at 36.0% for SCs and 28.1% for STs.
The cases acquitted (includes acquittal as well as the cases where the accused is discharged) is 5628 cases for SCs and 1399 for STs. At the end of the year 96.0% of cases of atrocities against SCs were pending for trial whereas for STs, the percentage stood at 95.4%.
“Even after the amendments came in force in year 2016, which generated a hope to the Dalit and Adivasis victims in accessing speedy justice, the implementation of the amended SCs and STs (PoA) Amended Act 2015 remains a challenge. With the audacity with which crimes are conducted it is very much evident that there is complete absence of fear and lawlessness. Apart from violence, being perpetrated on Dalits and Adivasis, there has been an increase in Untouchability practices in schools, access to drinking water, access to education, healthcare, and dignity remains a challenge,” read the statement by National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ)-NCDHR.
The group has called upon the Union and State Governments, political parties elected representatives to take a stand against the rising caste based in the country.
The Dalit group further called upon the Government of India to robustly, enforce and implement the new provisions of the amended Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 (2015).
Robustly implement the Exclusive Special Courts mandated in the amended act for speedy trials, the group urged.