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Prevention of Atrocities Act brings no reprieve to SC/STs

ICC Note

India’s Christian, Muslim and other Dalits continue to suffer despite legal provisions for their protection.

By Dibin Samuel

04/22/2010 India (Christian Today)-Twenty years have passed since the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 was brought by the government of India .

The Coalition prepared a status report and draft amendments required in the Act and other related Acts under the guidance of PS Krishnan, IAS (Rtd) and former advisor to the government of India.

The report was based on various recommendations of the National and State Commissions, various Dalit, Human Rights and Civil Society organisations and experts.

Participated by over 20 MPs, the Consultation called for high level Committees at the Centre and in States to review the implementation of the Act, assess the realisation of its objectives and take speedy action for effective implementation in future.

Furthermore, it urged the setting up of exclusive special courts, prosecutors and investigators for the speedy trial of cases under the Act.

Additionally, it asked to amend the definition of ‘Scheduled Castes’ and ‘Scheduled Tribes’ in the Act so as to add: all Christians or Muslims belonging to any castes in the Schedules; and all ethnic minority communities subjected to atrocities on the basis of their ethnicity.

Incidentally, there has also been an alarming increase of violence against women. A study of 500 Dalit women’s cases of violence across AP, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and UP between 1999 and 2004 revealed that the majority of the women faced several forms of violence from either or both perpetrators in the general community and the family.

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