The monitoring of prevention of atrocities against Dalits remains infrequent with less number of district level vigilance and monitoring committee meetings held in districts of Tamil Nadu, according to information received by Dalit rights group Social Awareness Society for Youths (SASY) in RTI queries.
The Dalit rights group has received information on 11 of the 32 districts in Tamil Nadu. It is awaiting response on the remaining districts.
Under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, there should be regular meetings of state, district level vigilance and monitoring committees — at least one every quarter — in order to be vigilant of atrocities against Dalits.
Of the 32 districts in Tamil Nadu, 28 districts have been identified as ‘atrocity-prone’, according to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Between 2015-19, of the 220 meetings that were to be held, 112 meetings were held across the 11 districts.
The districts for which the data was accessed by SASY include Ramanathapuram, Dindigul, Madurai, Pudhukottai, Krishnagari, Thoothukudi, Nagapattinam, Karur, Perambalur, Thirupoor and Kanchipuram.
Among them, Kanchipuram, Perambalur, Karur, Nagapattinam, Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Thoothukudi, Pudukkottai have been identified as atrocity prone areas by the state government.
While Thirupoor saw no meetings between 2015-19, Kanchipuram and Karur saw seven each, Perambalur saw five and Ramanathapuram saw eight meetings.
Dindigul, Madurai and Krishnagiri saw 15 meetings each, Pudhukottai and Nagapattinam 14 each and Thoothukudi saw 12, according to the RTI query received.
“The district vigilance and monitoring committee (DVMC) is one of the important organs of monitoring body which reviews the status of the cases, protection and relief to survivors to ensure the effective implementation of cases. It is shocking that the Tamil Nadu government has not held DVMC meetings according to the mandate which is a wilful negligence of the state to implement the Act,” said Pandiyan, executive director, SASY.
In the year 2016, Tamil Nadu registered over 1,300 cases of atrocities committed against Dalits, according to the 2016 National Crime Records Bureau data.