File Photo: Dalit women shout slogans during a protest against rising rape cases. (TOI Photo by Sanjeev Rastogi)
CHANDIGARH: Crimes and atrocities against dalits in Haryana have gone up by about two-and-a-half times during 2004-2013, compared to 1994-2003 period.

Figures complied by National Confederation of Dalit Organizations (NACDOR) from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports suggest amanifold increase in the number of cases related to assault, murder and sexual assault of Dalit women, especially incidents of gang rapes, over the past four years.

According to data released by NACDOR, a total of 3,198 cases related to atrocities on dalits have been registered between 2004 and 2013 as against 1,305 from 1994 to 2003. Haryana DGP S N Vashisht admitted to the increase in crime against dalits.

“But this is not a reflection of increase in crime or atrocities against a particular community. Rather, it means that every incident is reported and cases are registered. Secondly, there had been amendments in Acts related to atrocities on dalits, which also result in registration of more cases. Timely challans against the accused in the court and strong prosecution are basic ingredients for speedy justice and conviction,” Vashisht said. On the contrary, Dalit leaders termed the increase as an outcome of accused-friendly policing, leading to lopsided investigations and poor prosecution and poor follow-up of cases. Some organizations working for Dalit welfare even termed atrocities as a ploy of upper caste sections to deprive the socially backward from getting good education.

Ashok Bharti, national convener, NACDOR, said, “This has forced us to start an awareness drive. We have been raising this issue with Congress leaders and Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.”

Kalyani Menon Sen, an activist attached with NGO Women against Sexual Violence and Repression (WSS), justified her allegations saying, “Dalit children going to government schools in villages are the first layer of victims. They stop going to school after any girl falls victim to such a crime. They are not rich enough to go to any other school. Hence, they will remain educationally backward. Once they are educationally backward, they will not be able to compete with upper caste or those socially superior to them. Hence, sexual offences against dalits are being used as a tool now.”

Rajat Kalsan, an activist of National Human Rights Law Network, elaborated on the incidents where they had to fight for justice for dalits. Kalsan had pleaded the cases related to Dabra and Baghana rape victims.