Anti-Dalit crimes on rise in Uttar Pradesh, or simply more FIRs?

July 17th, 2009 - 4:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, July 17 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh has witnessed a steep rise in crimes against Dalits in the first six months of year - more so after Chief Minister Mayawati ordered police to pay special attention to these offences. However, police attribute the rise to Dalits now feeling free to report crimes against them.
According to the data made available by Inspector General of Police (Crime) G.P.Sharma and the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB), there has been a noticeable increase in various crimes against Dalits in the past six months.

As many as 139 cases of murder and rape of Dalits were lodged across the state from Jan 1 to April 30. The figure from May 1 till date for these crimes was 121. The grievous crimes this year till date were 227 while other cognizable offences totalled 1,487.

However, the police have different take on the rise in the crime graph.

“The order issued by the government to pay special attention to such cases has made the police more attentive towards the complaints related to Dalits,” Additional Director General of Police Brijlal said.

He said there is a provision for paying compensation between Rs.10,000 to Rs.100,000 to a Dalit subjected to any crime under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act but the members of the community were still unaware of this, he said.

“However, the chief minister’s direction to the senior police officials to attend to all such complaints personally and make them aware about their rights has made the difference,” he said, adding Dalits no longer fear entering the police station to lodge complaints.

In a meeting of senior police officers May 24, Mayawati ordered the superintendent of police in all districts to personally attend each and every complaint by a Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes member and also spread awareness about the compensation they were entitled to.

The state’s Director General of Police, Vikram Singh was asked to visit each spot where a Dalit’s murder or rape takes place across the state. Since then, Singh has visited 18 such places, including the four spots mentioned by state Congress unit president Rita Bahuguna Joshi in her remarks in Moradabad Wednesday, which landed her in jail.

Singh visited rape victims in Gautam Budhha Nagar, Meerut, Mathura and Auraiya districts July 9 to get a first-hand account of the police action in their cases.

The DGP then ordered the suspension of three police personnel, including an inspector, for delay in lodging complaint of a deaf and mute rape victim in Gautam Buddha Nagar. The incident took place July 7.

Singh met the victim and handed over a cheque of Rs.25,000. He also visited Ading village in Mathura district where a 14-year-old Dalit girl was killed earlier this month.

Police have pointed out specific regions of the state where such cases are high.

“Districts like Hardoi, Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Sultanpur, Azamgarh, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Etawah, Ghaziabad and Gautam Budhha Nagar record the maximum number of cases,” said Sharma, IG (Crime). However, he said he could cite any reason for this.

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