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'People Not Afraid of Law': UP, MP Register 20 Daily Cases of Dalit Atrocities

36 cases in UP and 20 in MP of Dalit atrocities are registered on an average daily, says the NCRB report.

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Edited By :Garima Sadhwani

"People are becoming more aware about the law. And so, more people are seeking legal refuge by reporting their experience when they are discriminated against," Rajasthan-based human rights activist Bhanwar Meghwanshi tells The Quint.

"However, it also means that atrocities are increasing, and more people are being subjected to discrimination, harassment, and even physical and verbal abuse," he adds.

According to the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Madhya Pradesh registered the highest rate of crime against Scheduled Castes in 2021 with 63.6 cases per 1 lakh population. Rajasthan followed closely with 61.6 cases per 100,000 population. In Rajasthan, 7,524 cases were registered in 2021, while 7,214 cases were registered in Madhya Pradesh the same year.

Even as Meghwanshi talks about awareness among the Dalit community, a few recent cases of atrocities have shook the nation.

In Rajasthan's Jalore, a Dalit boy was beaten to death for drinking water from a pot, allegedly not meant for him.

The boy after spending over three weeks in a hospital, after the assault, succumbed to his injuries on Saturday, 13 August.

Around 700 km away from Jalore, in Madhya Pradesh's Khandwa district, a 15-year-old Dalit girl was thrashed, allegedly for walking past a temple, on Friday, 19 August.

On the same date, the elected Dalit representatives of Jariyari panchayat in Madhya Pradesh's Satna were thrashed and subjected to casteist slurs by one Chandraprakash alias Chhotu Patel, a former elected representative of the three-tier Panchayati raj system.

"They said how can we, who have been slaves in their eyes, run a panchayat?" recounted 25-year-old Vikram Raghuvanshi, who was among those allegedly thrashed on 19 August.

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National Rate of Cases Pending Trial at 96%, Conviction Rate at 36%

Uttar Pradesh tops the list of states in India with the most crime against scheduled castes. As many as 12,714 cases were registered in 2020 and 13,146 in 2021 – almost double the number of instances in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan recorded 7,214 and 7,524 cases in 2021, respectively.

Out of the total 33,344 cases, undertrials in Madhya Pradesh in a total of 720 cases were convicted, while undertrials in 1,557 cases were acquitted in the year 2021. Similarly, in Rajasthan, out of a total of 20,522 cases, undertrials in 583 cases were convicted, while undertrials in 636 cases were acquitted.

Out of the 2,64,698 cases that were pending trial at the beginning of 2021, only 10,223 cases were disposed off by the courts, resulting in only 3.8 percent of the cases being finalised.

Talking to The Quint, Sunil Astay, the state president of Azad Samaj Party founded by Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad, claimed that the receding fear of law has allowed many to thrash, rape, and even murder people from the SC/ST communities.

“People from SC and ST have been at the receiving end of multiple facets of violence across India. There’s not even one state where this is not happening. The prime reason is that people are no longer afraid of the law and punishment. In Madhya Pradesh, when a Dalit man is assaulted, the accused are let go on bail within 24 hours in most cases. The accused are in most cases people from substantial backgrounds and can afford a good lawyer whereas the Dalit victims have to make do with government lawyers who more than often compel the victim to compromise.”
Sunil Astay

He further claimed that the caucus of a half-powered law, upper caste men in influential positions and power, and the pliant government lawyers, all converge in a way which encourages the atrocities to recur.

Data shows that in Madhya Pradesh itself, the cases against people of scheduled castes have increased around 22.4% between 2017 and 2021. In Rajasthan, it has increased by around 77.5% during the same time.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Rajasthan   Madhya Pradesh   Dalit 

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