Rape of Dalit women rose in Gujarat over the last 13 years, reaching the highest in 2014, higher by 500 per cent since 2001, says an RTI reply. The reply to an RTI application by Mehsana-based human rights activist Kaushik Parmar, from the office of Director General of Police (DGP), Gujarat, revealed that 74 Dalit women were allegedly raped and cases were registered under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, in 2014.
According to the RTI reply, dated February 23, 2015 – provided by Deputy Superintendent of Police of DGP Office, G M Malek – the number records five-time increase in the rape incidents against Dalit women, compared to 2001 when only 14 such cases were recorded.
The data provided in reply to the RTI application reveal that total 501 rape cases were registered between January 2001 and December 2014. Incidentally, the Government of Gujarat launched the women’s helpline ‘Abhayam’ in November that year for the state to check atrocities on women.
The figures are in stark contrast to the state government’s claims on women’s empowerment, like 50 per cent reservation for women in local bodies, enforcing 33 per cent reservation for women in police force and highest Budget allocation for social sector. Commenting on the data, Parmar said, “The five-fold increase in the number of rape cases in Gujarat even when the chief minister is a woman shows that the tall claims of Gujarat Government on women empowerment and social harmony are hollow.”
Minister of State (Home), Rajnikant Patel, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
The RTI reply also provided data, as sought by Parmar, on the number of villages in Gujarat where Dalits were provided police protection against local influential communities in different districts. According to the reply, police protection has presently been provided to Dalits by the government in 116 villages of the state.