Jharkhand’s only SC/ST police station in dire straits

March 11th, 2008 - 11:06 am ICT by admin  

By Nityanand Shukla
Ranchi, March 11 (IANS) Jharkhand’s lone police station set up specifically to probe the complaints of socially marginalized people has very few policemen, no power, telephone or even furniture. Probe delays have almost become routine, denying justice to many belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs).

One would be taken aback just walking into the police station here. There is no power, no telephone, no chairs and tables, and the lock-up doesn’t even have a door handle! They have managed to get a power connection - but that too illegally.

The station had its own vehicle six years ago but has none right now.

“Reconstitution and modernisation is a must. The present resources are not enough to meet the challenges. We need to strengthen the SC/ST cell to do justice with the cases lodged,” said Gauri Shankar Rath, additional director general of police, Crime Investigation Department (CID).

“We will try to improve the infrastructure and send a fresh proposal for the betterment of the SC/ST police station,” he added.

The number of cases lodged and the charge sheets filed also indicate the step-motherly treatment given to complaints lodged in the SC/ST police station here.

In 2005, while 27 cases were lodged, charge-sheets were filed in only five and six were said to be incorrect. Similarly in 2006, as many as 60 complaints were filed, but only nine were charge-sheeted and as many were found to be incorrect.

While 73 cases were registered last year, charge-sheets were filed in just two and charges were found false in two of them.

According to the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, a deputy superintendent of police (DYSP) rank officer should investigate cases lodged in the SC/ST police station. And a superintendent of police (SP) rank official should supervise them.

But Ranchi’s SC/ST police station has only one sub-inspector, one hawildar (head constable) and one constable.

“A proposal to create separate posts of DYSP, inspector and constables was moved in 2002 itself, but was struck down by the home department,” said a CID official.

People are also unhappy that most of their charges are either found to be false or they are kept endlessly waiting for justice.

Shivashankar Prasad, a washerman in the Shivapuri area here, filed a complaint in June 2002 against a retired police official’s son for assaulting and threatening him. He is yet to get justice.

Similarly, Ajay Shankar Prasad lodged a case against one Sri Ram Sahu and his wife under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act last year.

Sahu owns a bus that ferries schoolchildren. Prasad’s daughter used the bus but he was unable to pay Sahu for six months. The girl was one day forced to get off the bus and Sahu allegedly abused and threatened Prasad.

But Prasad’s charges were found to be incorrect during the probe.

“In many cases the charges do not stand due to delayed investigation. The witnesses turn hostile as those who have money and power twist the cases. And this way people who have lodged cases under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act are denied justice,” said a police official posted at the station.

While tribals constitute 27 percent of the Jharkhand’s population, Dalits form 11 percent. But to look into their complaints, there is just one police station and that too with shoddy infrastructure.

Interestingly, Jharkhand, which was formed in 2000, has spent more than Rs.3 billion on the modernisation of the state police and 13,000 constables have been recruited in the last seven years, according to official figures.

But the condition of the lone SC/ST police station seems to have only worsened.

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