Atrocities against Dalits on the rise in Kerala shows crime data

Madhu’s lynching was no isolated incident. Crimes against SCs and STs have spiked.

KOCHI: Even though Dalit and Adivasi organisations across the state have not hit the streets openly with widespread protests against the alleged ‘dilution’ of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act  like what occurred in north Indian states, Dalit outfits cite that atrocities against SCs and STs have gone up immensely in the state. The killing of Adivasi youth Madhu by a lynch mob in Attappadi was the latest to make headlines.

As per records available with the state government, since the LDF government came to power until February 22, 1,776 cases were registered for atrocities against SCs and 335 cases for atrocities against STs. Besides, the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures show that 810 cases of atrocities against SCs were registered in 2016 against 696 in 2015. The corresponding figure in 2014 was 712. When it comes to atrocities against STs, 182 cases were registered in 2016, as per the NCRB data.

The figures paint another sordid picture: 1,800 cases have been pending trial before courts since 2015, while the figure before 2015 was 2,244 cases. As per the NCRB data, 92.6 per cent is the pendency rate in these cases, while the conviction rate is only 7.9 per cent. Trial proceedings were completed only in 165 cases. Thirteen persons were convicted, while 152 were acquitted or discharged.

“Recently, atrocities against Dalits have gone up in Kerala. Even political parties are not considering this an important issue. Dalits face atrocities from even the CPM, which is hailed as a political outfit of backward classes. If the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is diluted, Dalits will lose a legal protection they are enjoying now,” said CSDS state president K K Suresh. CSDS is one among the 29 Dalit outfits that has called for a hartal on Monday.

Tribal leader C K Janu also echoed a similar view that the tribal community and other backward classes would lose the protection. “We are planning to meet the President and Prime Minister seeking withdrawal of the dilution of the Act. Besides, we have decided to file a petition seeking to implead in the case before the Supreme Court,” she said.

According to the NCRB, 422,799 crimes against SCs were reported between 2006 and 2016 in the country. The highest increase in crimes were recorded in eight states, including Kerala, where rates rose by more than 10 times. Meanwhile, 81,322 crimes against STs were reported from 2006 to 2016, with the highest increase in crime rates recorded in Kerala, Karnataka and Bihar.

No respite

Cases registered for atrocities against SCs since May 2016
Cases registered for atrocities against STs in the same period
Cases have been pending trial before courts since 2015
Pendency rate in cases of atrocities against SC/STs
Conviction rate in cases of atrocities against SC/STs

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The New Indian Express