Monday, July 16, 2012

Spurt in crimes against dalits, Bihar records highest number of cases

NEW DELHI: Bihar witnessed the highest number of caste-based crimes in the country in 2011, data released by the National Crime Records Bureau said. NCRB figures also showed that there was a spurt in crimes under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in the entire country with 2011 witnessing 11,342 cases — an increase of 7.9% over the previous year. 

With 3,024 cases under SC/ST Act, Bihar accounted for 26.7% of total such crimes in the country. It left behind states such as UP and Rajasthan which, however, recorded maximum overall crimes against dalits. The difference between overall crimes and those under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is that while the former includes all crimes committed against a dalit by any caste (including a fellow dalit) for any reason, the latter includes only those cases where atrocity has been committed against a dalit by an upper caste for reasons primarily of caste difference. 

In this category, Bihar scored over all other states. UP, which accounts for maximum overall crimes against dalits with 7,702 cases, comes second under Atrocities Act with its share being 17.6%. Andhra Pradesh follows with a share of 12.7% under the Act. It is often argued that such figures give a misleading picture as the Act is highly abused where false complaints are lodged against people to settle personal scores. To put matters in perspective, NCRB figures show that 10.8% of cases under this Act have been found to be false. 

Bihar's rate of charge-sheeting cases under the Atrocities Act stands at 82.2%, below the national average of 90.7%. All other states known for caste violence have scored better than Bihar with MP and Rajasthan scoring over 99%. On rate of conviction too, Bihar has to do better. At 10.6% (way below the national average of 31.9%), it has the lowest conviction rate for crimes against dalits. Only Andhra Pradesh's rate is comparable at 11.6% while states such as UP (59%) and Rajasthan (45.7%) are far ahead.


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