IN THE wake of rising cases of atrocities against the Dalit community in Gujarat, the Director General of Police (DGP) Shivanand Jha has asked the police to complete pending SC/ST atrocity cases, file charge sheets in a maximum of 60 days and provide ample security to the marginalized community, wherever required in the state.
State officials told The Indian Express that as per an estimate, over 800 cases of atrocities against SC/ST communities have been pending in Gujarat.
In a meet held between the DGP, senior officials and Deputy Superintendents of Police (DySPs), SC/ST cell, of all districts on Tuesday, Jha reviewed the status of old and pending cases of atrocities and pushed for fast-paced investigations.
“The DGP has asked all senior officials to finish the investigations in the pending cases of SC/ST atrocities, keeping in mind the sensitivity of these cases. Police must ensure that the victims receive justice and charge sheets must be filed in a maximum of 60 days from the day the FIR is lodged. The DGP has also asked for speedy investigations, immediate arrests of the accused, an increase in the conviction rate and vouched for stricter punishment for the accused when the case goes to trial,” said a statement released by the DGP office.
The meeting comes after a rise in cases of violence against Dalits, allegedly by upper caste communities, in different parts of Gujarat such as rural Ahmedabad, Botad and Rajkot among others. Recently, a 25-year-old Dalit youth was hacked to death in front of the 181 Abhayam helpline team in Vermor village of rural Ahmedabad, allegedly by his upper caste in-laws, which sparked furor among the Dalit community.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) (Prevention of Atrocities on SC/STs and Weaker Sections) Kamal Kumar Ojha said, “Over 800 cases of atrocities against Dalits are currently pending in Gujarat and around 50% of them are facing trial in courts. We have received directives to speed up the probe in new cases and re-open old cases as well.”
The DGP spoke of the need to provide ample security in villages, where the Dalit community faced vulnerabilities.“Police protection must be provided for the Dalit community in required villages. Every village which has a presence of the community must be frequently visited by the local SP and DySP (SC/ST cell) to instill confidence and maintain harmony,” read the statement.
Speaking on the process of police protection, Ojha said, “Police protection is provided whenever it is demanded by people from the Dalit community and as of now, 40 villages in Gujarat have police presence. The senior cops also conduct routine visits to these villages.”