Published: Wednesday, Dec 26, 2012, 2:23 IST
By Sandeep Pai | Place: Mumbai

Across the country, the number of rape cases in which the victims were women from the scheduled tribes (STs) increased by close to 40% between 2009 and 2011, records show. During the same period, there was also a 15% rise in rape cases against women belonging to the scheduled castes (SC). Also, Maharashtra recorded the lowest conviction rate in such cases.

In 2009, the number of tribal women raped in the country was 585, which increased to 654 and 772 in 2010 and 2011, respectively.In 2009 and 2010, the number of rape cases against Dalit women was 1,350. In 2011, an increase of more than 250 cases was witnessed, according to data from the Rajya Sabha. In fact, the ministry of home affairs sent a detailed advisory dated April 1, 2010 on crimes against SC/ST to all states, which listed preventive steps.

“Despite the advisory, the number of rapes against Dalit and tribal women increased manifold in 2011. The direction was clearly not taken seriously by different states,” said Mariam Dhawale, state president of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA).

Madhya Pradesh appears the most unsafe for ST women with the highest number of rape cases. Here, the number of tribal women who registered cases of rape was 263 in 2009, 308 in 2010 and 306 in 2011. Chattisgarh stands second with close to 100 rape cases every year. Maharashtra stands third with about 50 rape cases every year, but with a conviction rate among the lowest in the country. Between 2009 and 2011, while 248 persons were charge-sheeted in connection with various rape cases, only eight were convicted. The state’s worst record was in 2011, when 84 people were charge-sheeted, but not even one convicted.

Even among Dalit women, the state has the worst conviction rate for rape cases. In 2009, 147 persons were charge-sheeted in 130 rape cases and only 29 were convicted. It further decreased in 2010 and 2011 with only nine and eight persons convicted among the 140 and 130 persons charge-sheeted, respectively.