Atrocities against SC/STs increasing, says report

Gulbarga and Bangalore City top the list of atrocity cases reported against the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, from 2008 to 2010, according to a Government report on the status of SC/ST community especially in relation to the implementation of the Prevention of Atrocities Act in the State.

Speaking after releasing the report here on Thursday, Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje said though atrocity cases had reduced, the report was still far from satisfactory.

“It is very unfortunate that our country is still reeling under the dark shadow of casteism which is used as a weapon to gain benefits. It is not just abiding by the rules of the Act but there is a need to change the attitude of the society to live in harmony,” she added.

Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, C Motamma said it was of no use to discuss the atrocities within the communities.

“Such reports must be discussed in the public forum inviting people from all sections of life to educate them about the status of SC/ST people in the State,” she said.

Report on atrocities

Mandya district saw an increase in the number of cases reported in the year 2010, when nearly 87 cases were reported (39 cases in 2009 and 29 in 2008). Hassan and Chikkaballapur also showed a steep increase in the reported cases. Besides Gulbarga and Bangalore City, atrocity cases have been consistently reported from Bellary, Mysore, Bijapur, Kolar and Tumkur.

Convictions

In Tumkur, nearly 101 cases were disposed of in 2010 without a single conviction by a special court. Overall conviction stands at five per cent with the highest rate at 25 per cent in the State.

In seven districts, however, the conviction was nil in 2010. Gulbarga (325) and Bangalore Urban (209) have disposed of the highest number of cases with a conviction rate of just two per cent. Eleven districts have reported an increase in the number of pending cases, though, overall pending cases have declined by 441 from 2779 to 2338.

Key recommendations

Investigating officers- The post of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) should not be vacant in any district at any time since it directly affects the implementation of the Act. The DySP is the primary authority for investigation. The State government can recommend the Central government to amend the law so that the investigation can be conducted by any competent police officer under the supervision of the DySP.

Undertrials and administration of justice - a Government Order should be issued immediately clarifying Rule 4(5) that the services of the advocate of  choice will be paid for by the State government and that the fee will be on the scale (including allowances) fixed by the Government for special public prosecutors under this Act.

Wide publicity should be given to this provision so that the victims can avail the services of competent lawyers at the earliest, from the FIR stage itself. It was also recommended to set up exclusive special courts in all districts with judges and time bound completion of trial (within a year).

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