For a state infamous for caste-based crime,Haryana has a lot a of catching up to do so far as getting perpetrators of such atrocities,especially against the Dalit community,are concerned.
Sample this: Out of every 100 people accused of or arrested on chargs of committing crimes against the Dalits,more than 92 walk free after the court trials. This translates into a conviction rate of merely 7.9 per cent.
The Supreme Court reprimand to Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government while hearing a matter relating to rehabilitation of the members of the Dalit community who had to leave Mirchpur village in Hisar doesnt come as a surprise then.
Violence had broken out in the village following the killing of 70-year-old Dalit Tara Chand and his teenaged daughter Suman on April 21,2010. The apex court asked the Haryana to inform it about the status of implementation of laws relating to prevention of atrocities against the Dalits in the state.
According to the figures available with the National Crime Records Bureau for the year 2012,Haryana figures in the last seven states with the poor conviction rate in crimes against Dalits. The highest conviction rate in such crimes was recorded by Sikkim (66.7 per cent),followed by 54.5 per cent in Uttarakhand.
Even Uttar Pradesh,also infamous for caste and community related crime incidents,recorded 51.4 per cent conviction rate in crimes against Dalits. It is followed by Rajasthan (41 per cent),Delhi (35.7 per cent),Madhya Pradesh (35.3 pert cent) and Chhattisgarh (31.1 per cent). The countrys overall average conviction rate in crimes against Dalits is 23.9 per cent.
Last year,782 cases (including those pending from previous years) pertaining to crimes against Dalits were listed for hearing in Haryana courts. Of the total accused in cases,only 24 were convicted,while 278 were acquitted or discharged from the cases registered against them.
Haryana Police officers,however,maintain that despite their best efforts,the witnesses refuse to support the prosecutions case leading to acquittal of many of the accused. The accused walk free as the complainants and witnesses backtrack from their original statements. The out of the court settlements take place and both the sides call it a truce leading to most of the acquittals. The police has been doing its job by arresting all those allegedly involved,one of the senior police officers said.
Incidentally,like Haryana,there are some other states too,which have registered a shoddy conviction rate. These include Gujarat (7.8 per cent),Assam (5.4 per cent),Karnataka (4.8 per cent),Kerala (4.1 per cent),Maharashtra (5.4 per cent),Odisha (6.3 per cent) and West Bengal (6.3 per cent). The Union Territory of Puducherry is having the worst conviction rate in crimes against Dalits at 3.1 per cent.
In the last one year,there had been a spate of crimes against Dalits in Haryana,including gangrapes of minor girls,murders and attacks on colonies forcing the community members to migrate out of their villages.
Even the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes had taken cognisance of several such cases and took the state government to task.