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Published in the 16-28 Feb 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

National conference discusses Dalit atrocities

The Milli Gazette Online

New Delhi: The Union government on January 11 organised a national conference here on prevention of atrocities against Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes. The conference deliberated on the reasons for low rate of conviction in cases against atrocities on Dalits and Tribals, speedy trial , ways and means to generate awareness and action for prevention of atrocities against Dalits. 

Law Minister HR Bharadawaj urged the Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who was also present, to help frame a comprehensive law for speedy criminal justice. He added that attitudinal changes and amendments in the existing laws were necessary to impart justice without delay. He suggested to remove discrimination against SCs and STs and that MPs and MLAs can set an example by living and eating with them.

Home minister Shivraj Patil in his address said that his ministry would welcome measures to evolve a computarised system for monitoring cases and improve the criminal justice system. He said that investigations should be carried out by officials of not less than the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and within 30 days, exclusive special courts should be set up in all districts, and states that are lagging behind should accord "high priority" to it. He suggested other measures like imparting training to presiding officers for attitudinal changes towards members of SCs and STs, deployment of female police personnel in each police station especially in atrocity prone areas, visits by the DSP of an area to the place of occurrence of serious offences and periodic review of police protection arrangements for the victims of the atrocities and their faminlies.

The Union government decided to organise the conference because of low conviction rate in atrocities against Dalits and Tribals. Out of 20,781 cases of atrocities against Dalits only 2,694 ended in convictions while 18,087 cases were either withdrawn or ended in acquittal, according to Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

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