More than half of all offences registered under The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act where victims were Dalits, were related to insult and humiliation heaped on them, data from 2017 released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show.
The data released Monday also show a new trend in cases of corruption: “traps” involving lower-level government officials are increasing at the cost of criminal misconduct involving senior officials. This could mean either reduced corruption at higher levels, or increased enthusiasm among law enforcement to go after small offenders.
Dalits: NCRB has for the first time published data for cases in which only the SC/ST Act was invoked without any sections of IPC. Unlike the 2016 data, there are separate figures for 2017 for intentional insult or humiliation of a Dalit, occupation of Dalit land, preventing the use of public space, and social boycott.
Of the 5,775 offences registered solely under the SC/ST Act in 2017 with Dalits as victims, 3,172 (55%) were related to “Intentionally Insult or Intimidate with Intent to Humiliate”. There were 47 cases of land grabbing related to Dalits; they faced social boycott in 63 cases; and they were prevented from using public spaces in 12 cases.
The most insult cases were reported from Karnataka (1,175) followed by UP (804), and Bihar (338). Sixteen land grab cases each were reported from Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka. Cases of preventing a Dalit from using public space were reported from Maharashtra, Himachal, Karnataka, Kerala, and Punjab. Fifty-seven of the 63 cases of social boycott or of a Dalit being forced to leave his place of residence were reported from UP.
Countrywide, 43,203 cases of atrocities against Dalits (including IPC and SC/ST Act cases) were reported in 2017, about 6% more than in the previous year. The highest rates of crimes against Dalits (number of incidents per 1,00,000 population) were in Madhya Pradesh (52), Bihar (41), and Rajasthan (35).
Higher numbers for crimes against Dalits also reflect more robust reporting of crimes by victims, which indicates empowerment.
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Tribals: Of 720 offences registered solely under the SC/ST Act in 2017, 373 (52%) pertained to “Intentionally Insult or Intimidate with Intent to Humiliate”. There were 27 cases of land grabbing related to tribals, and 18 cases of tribals facing social boycott.
The highest numbers of insult cases were in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh (25), and Bihar (24). Jharkhand had 13 of the 27 cases of land-grab. Seventeen of the 18 cases of social boycott or of a tribal being forced to leave his place of residence were reported from Jharkhand.
The 7,125 cases of atrocities against tribals (including IPC and SC/ST Act cases) in 2017 were about 9% more than in 2016.
Corruption: Registration of corruption cases has fallen by over 20% since 2015. “Trap” cases have spiked, while cases of criminal misconduct have fallen sharply since 2016.
“Trap” cases, in which bribery is caught red-handed, generally involve lower-level officials who accept gratification in cash. Criminal misconduct cases generally involve higher officials; pecuniary gains in these case are rarely made in cash.
Corruption cases involving “trap” rose by over 100% in 2017 over 2016; criminal misconduct cases fell by 70%. Overall, 4,062 cases of corruption were registered in 2017, compared to 4,439 in 2016. As many as 2,731 (67%) cases in 2017 were “traps”; 801 (20%) were of criminal misconduct.