The state has witnessed a 50 per cent increase in the number of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes in the last eight years between 2010 and 2017, according to figures shared by Union Minister of State for Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale on Friday. The number of cases registered with the police about atrocities on Scheduled Castes under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, shows that over 9,000 cases have been registered in Gujarat during the last eight years. This include cases of murder, grievous hurt, rape, arson and other offences.
In comparison to the 1,006 cases of atrocities lodged in 2010, the number rose by over 50 per cent to 1,515 till the end of 2017. By the end of June 2018, an additional 795 cases were registered in the state. The figures, pertaining to only Scheduled Castes, show that the number of murders and rapes have more than doubled in eight years. These figures were shared at a meeting held at the circuit house here on Friday where the Union minister and state government officials were present. “I know that atrocities were committed against Dalits in Una (in 2016). Atrocities are happening in other parts of the country. Even when Congress was in power, atrocities happened and it is continuing even when the BJP is in power. The government is not the reason for these atrocities. Casteism is…,” Athawale said.
The figures show that Gujarat accounts for a little over three per cent of the cases of atrocities registered in the country in 2017. “Last year’s figures show that there were 47,000 cases of atrocities (in the country) and if Gujarat’s figures are taken into consideration then 1,515 cases were registered in 2017,” he said.
On identifying pockets prone to caste conflicts in the state, Manoj Aggarwal, Principal Secretary of Department of Social Justice and Empowerment of the state government, said, “You may contact Director of Scheduled Castes Welfare KD Kapadia.” Kapadia could not be reached despite repeated attempts.