Wednesday, December 21, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Atrocities on Dalit women go unpunished: Gujarat NGO

Atrocities on Dalit women go unpunished: Gujarat NGO
Published: Wednesday, Dec 21, 2011, 20:30 IST
By Paras K Jha

If it is a crime to be born a woman in society, it is a bigger crime
to be born a Dalit woman. This, at least, is what a study by human
rights organisation, Navsarjan Trust, says.

While women are normally considered to be vulnerable to atrocities,
women belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) are
more prone to various crimes. The study shows that it is more
difficult for Dalits to get justice in the court of law for their
traumatic sufferings. The study indicates that in the cases of
violence by non-Dalits on Dalit women, no non-Dalit accused have been
convicted so far, and in cases of violence by Dalits on Dalit women,
there have been convictions only in six cases.

The study, 'Gender-Violence and Access to Justice for the Dalit Woman:
Final Report December 2011', was undertaken by Navsarjan Trust in
collaboration with Minority Rights Group International, London. It was
focused on three districts of Rajkot, Kutch and Bhavnagar. It covers
the atrocities cases on Dalit women registered from 2004 to 2009.

The data was collected by filing RTI applications with district
superintendents of police. Pointing towards the non-serious attitude
of police stations towards Dalit women facing atrocity, the report
says: "A low percentage of police stations responded to the request in
spite of fines that may be levied for non-compliance with the RTI Act.
Data was received from 41% of police stations for non-Dalit on Dalit
crime, 44% of police stations for Dalit on Dalit crime, and 49% of
police stations submitted Accidental/Unnatural Deaths data, from all
three districts."

Surprisingly, whatever data was received for the study shows a more
gloomy picture of delivery ofjustice to the victims. Of 889 registered
cases —185 cases of violence by non-Dalits and 704 cases of violence
by Dalits, only 6 cases (or 0.7% of the total) resulted in conviction
of the accused.

The report says, "Also significant is the absence of even one
conviction of a non-Dalit accused. Given that 50.27% of crimes by
non-Dalits on Dalits were of a grievous nature — cases that resulted
in death or grave physical injury to the woman — not one case has
ended in a conviction.Further, a full 50.5% of all cases remain
pending in the sessions' court. And the police stations did not
provide any information on the status of 32.7% of cases filed. In
other words, only 17% of all cases have reached court settlement or

Talking about the study, Majula Pradeep, of Navsarjan, said:
"Non-Dalit accused often walk free from the cases because of political
and social clout they have. For instance, in Bhavnagar, a majority of
police personnel belong to a particular caste, so they don't take
seriously the complaints made by Dalit women. We will be submitting
our report to state government departments, advocating for the rights
of the Dalit women."


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