Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 05.04.13
SC students burn effigies of Congress MLAs, MP in Rohtak - The Indian Express
Centre proposes measures to strengthen SC/ST Act - The Hindu
The Indian Express
SC students burn effigies of Congress MLAs, MP in Rohtak
PTI : Rohtak, Thu Apr 04 2013, 21:56 hrs
Students belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) demonstrated here and burnt the effigies of Congress MLAs and MPs, protesting police inaction in nabbing the accused in the murder case of two Dalit youths.
The activists, under the aegis of Dr Ambedkar Missionaries Vidharthi Association, an outfit of students belonging to the dalit community, gathered on the campus of Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) and started moving towards the local residence of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda at Baapu Park.
They raised slogans against the state government for its alleged failure in checking the crime against dalits.
Earlier, senior leader of the association Vikram Singh Dumolia, while addressing the protesters alleged that rising crime against Dalits had yet again proved that the Hooda-government had failed to protect Dalits in the state.
"Dalits are being tortured and murdered by criminals, but the government is taking no step to ensure their safety and security," he said adding that Dalits will not sit quietly till the government ensures their security.
Centre proposes measures to strengthen SC/ST Act
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Imposing a social or economic boycott on persons from a reserved caste or tribe, parading them naked, preventing them from entering a place of worship or employing them as manual scavengers — such offences will now be dealt with more severely and in a time-bound manner, as the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has recommended measures to strengthen the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, and Rules 1995.
"We have drawn up a list of recommendations that deal with newer forms of offences and bring within the purview of the Act relevant IPC Offences that attract penalties of less than 10 years. A draft was circulated for inter-ministerial consultations, and we are in the process of drafting a Cabinet note on the proposal to strengthen the Prevention of Atrocities Act," said an official of the Ministry.
The Ministry is also keen on having dedicated special courts and a 30-day trial to deal with complaints. "The time taken to file a complaint and then to address it is a crucial aspect of the complaint redress. There are designated courts and special public prosecutors appointed to ensure speedy trial, but a review of trials under the Act has shown that all witnesses are not given adequate notice, not briefed appropriately, and not apprised of time, place and status of the case. In all, there is undue delay in disposing of these cases, leading to loss of confidence among the victims in the criminal justice system," the official said.
Now, the Ministry has recommended that the Act include provisions like appointment of special public prosecutors to try cases exclusively, all cases be disposed of within three months from the date of filing of charge sheet and cases under the Act be given priority in appeals.
Offences that are well documented, but not within the ambit of the Act, such as obstructing the use of common property resources, causing physical harm or death on the allegation of practising witchcraft or abetment should be brought within the purview of the Act, the Ministry has said.
"Another important recommendation is expanding the scope of presumption whether the perpetrator had knowledge of the (SC/ST) identity of the victim while committing the offence. We found a shortcoming in the reading of the Act…: the emphasis on establishing that the offence was committed on ground that the victim was SC or ST. There are numerous cases of the police refusing to register complaints under the Act unless the complainant could establish that the identity of the victim was in fact the ground for committing the offence; in some cases, the police refuse to register a case… because the perpetrator did not overtly use the terms of caste abuse while committing the offence. We have called for tweaking the Act in such a way that the police and the judiciary do not place the onus on the complainant or the prosecution to prove that the accused acted on the basis of caste or tribal identity," the official said.
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")
Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC.