The lethargy shown by police in investigating cases related to caste atrocities cannot be allowed, said P N Vijayakumar, chairman, the Kerala State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
He was speaking to ‘Express’ after conducting a special sitting in Kakkanad to address the grievances of Dalits who were victims of a financial fraud.
Expressing displeasure at the absence of senior revenue and police officials during the hearing, the chairman pointed out that authorities need to be more serious about discharging their constitutional duties.
“I am shocked that the police did not invoke provisions in the Prevention of Atrocities Act, while addressing complaints filed by the victims. Several court judgements have reiterated that the complacency shown by investigative agencies while dealing with caste atrocities cannot be tolerated. The police should not act as if caste issues do not exist in Kerala”, he said. Many victims of the financial fraud had complained that police were unwilling to invoke required provisions of the Atrocities Act, even after an organised gang had fraudulently usurped their property. “In one case, police did invoke the Act, but opted to employ a relatively weak provision. If a weak provision is employed, perpetrators can go scot free with the help of lawyers”, the chairman pointed out. The chairman said that he is suspicious of the involvement of certain bank officials in the scam.
“How can bank officials provide a huge amount in loan, when only a small property is submitted as collateral? Primary evidence points towards something fishy”, he said.
The commission observed that crimes like falsifying records, cheating and using fabricated documents for land transactions happened in the said case.
The commission issued directives to the revenue, registration, police and bank officials to provide sufficient documents and detailed reports on the financial fraud and will decide on the future course of action once the reports are made available.
E K Kunjumon, general convener, the Defence Committee of Victims, demanded that on the basis of the observations made by the commission, the government should show more seriousness in handling the issue.