It became an eyebrow raising disposal of cases in which as many as 13 registered under Prevention of Atrocities against SC/ST heard by the District Vigilance and Monitoring Committee were disposed as invalid.
Dalit Organisations termed it a farce and charged that the selection of committee members was flawed which even included police officials who had purposefully made the decision. However, the Collector, who is the chairperson of the committee, denied the charges.
As per the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act-1995 section 17(2), district vigilance and monitoring committee which is headed by the district collector should have 16 members including district social welfare officer as secretary and other members includes elected members like MP, an MLA, Superintendent of Police, Group A or Gazetted officials belonging to the Dalit community and Dalit members from NGO.
However, the meeting which was held on June 21, had 22 members among them 13 were from police department with capacities of DSPs and Inspectors and nine other members were non-Dalit community members.
“These cases were disposed without conducting inquiry with the affected persons and most of the police officials were the investigating officers (IO) of those particular cases”, said A K Tamilathan, district secretary of VCK.
Tamilathan alleged that the police officials who are against the Dalits and never registered cases when the atrocity were enacted against the Dalits. “A case is pending in the court appealing not to include these police officials as IOs in the HC”, he said and claimed that the mass disposal of cases is against the law.
Appealing to cancel the meeting proceedings and the agenda, the VCK had approached the Chief Secretary, home secretary of TN and the Tiruchy Collector. Tamilathan also appealed to re-investigate the cases which were declared invalid.
Collector Jayashree Muralidharan, she rubbished the charges and said the committee was formed as per the norms. “There are lots of queries asked by the non official members when the police officials present the case. Only the non-official members are convinced the final decision is taken” the collector stressed.