Day 50 – Q 2.Do you think the existing laws and mechanisms adequately address the issue of atrocities committed against the SC/ ST community? Critically examine.
2. Do you think the existing laws and mechanisms adequately address the issue of atrocities committed against the SC/ ST community? Critically examine.
क्या आपको लगता है कि मौजूदा कानून और तंत्र SC / ST समुदाय के खिलाफ अत्याचार के मुद्दे को पर्याप्त रूप से संबोधित करते हैं? समालोचनात्मक जांच करें।
Scheduled castes are those castes/races in the country that suffer from extreme social, educational and economic backwardness arising out of age-old practice of untouchability and certain others on account of lack of infrastructure facilities and geographical isolation, and who need special consideration for safeguarding their interests and for their accelerated socio-economic development.
As per National council for strengthening the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocity) act in the last 15 years, a total of 5, 58, 103 cases of atrocities were registered.
- Every 15 minutes 4 Dalits and Adivasis are subjected to atrocities
- Every day 3 Dalit women are raped, 2 Dalits are murdered & 11 Dalits are beaten up
- Every week 13 Dalits are murdered, 5 Dalits’ houses are set on fire, 6 Dalits are kidnapped
Existing laws and mechanisms to deal with atrocities committed against the SC/ ST community
- SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocity) act – The PoA Act was meant not only to prevent but also to eliminate atrocities against SCs and STs. With this in view, it defined the term ‘atrocity’ as ‘an offence punishable under Section 3’ of the Act which lists a number of offences.
The Act is expansive in its scope in many respects: in the list of offences, in constituting organizational mechanisms, in identifying officers for performing specific responsibilities, in defining their specific duties, in framing penalties for offences committed, and in assuring relief and rehabilitation measures to the victim-survivors. It has, indeed, promised to address the issue of discrimination and atrocities faced by Dalits and Adivasis.
Despite the deterrence assured by the Act, the numerical increase in atrocities has not stopped. Nor has the response from the different governance agencies in the country (police, district and state level monitoring committees, district and state level vigilance committees, public prosecutors, special courts, etc.) been satisfactory.
- Article 17 abolishes Untouchability. The Protection of Civil Rights Act prescribes punishment for the preaching and practice of Untouchability. However very often Dalits are denied temple entry in various parts of the country.
- Forest right act 2005 – recognised ST’s right to live in the forest and their livelihood rights. However forceful evictions of forest dwellers are still practiced by forest authorities.
- Article 338 provides for a National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes with duties to investigate and monitor all matters relating to safeguards provided for them, to inquire into specific complaints and to participate and advise on the planning process of their socio-economic development etc.
- The ‘Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013’ (MS Act, 2013): Eradication of dry latrines and manual scavenging and rehabilitation of manual scavengers in alternative occupation has been an area of high priority for the Government.
- Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups identification to protect and preserve extremely vulnerable tribal groups against any existential threat from outside.
Ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for freedom. It is a battle of reclamation of human personality – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
There is a need of awareness campaign and behavioral change among people apart from strengthening criminal justice system. Only then dream of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar will be fulfilled.