A Round Table Conferenceon Atrocities against Dalits, Dalit Women and Girl Children was organized on 28thJuly 2017 at Press Club, Gandhinagar,Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. 24 major atrocities including murders, rape & murders, rapes, mass attacks, cheating in the name of love, Social and Economic boycotts were presented before the jury consisting of state level officials from the concerned departments and other eminent personalities.The program started with powerful songs of Ambedkar sung by DSS cultural team.
The jury members were Sri G Raghu Ram Director-Social Welfare Department, Sri B. Rama Koteswara Rao– In-charge Director to Director of Prosecutions, Sri Satyanarayana Reddy – Retd Judge, Sri PSN Murthy -IAS (VR), Founder President of Ambedkar Mission, Dr Siddoji Rao – In-charge for SC, ST IAS, IPS Forum, Sri N Paul Divakar – Chair Personof Asia Dalit Rights Forum, Sri Satya Rayalu – Founder President of DVMK. The conference was presided over by Jhansi Geddam National Convener of Dalit Sthree Sakthi (DSS).Dr BR Ambedkar’s photo was garlanded by G Raghu Ram and B. Rama Koteswara Rao. A copy of jury kit was givento the Jury members apart from the media representatives. Jury kit contained detailscase wise, Socio economic conditions of the village, Interventions, Present status, Action to be taken. G Daniel Vijay Prakash briefed about the context of the RTC and explained case by case after the narration of agony by the victims /witnesses. In most of the incidents the victims / witnesses wept while explaining their vulnerable situation and the way they withstood against all odds. This moved the jury members and the audience and many including the jury had tears in their eyes.
GDV Prakash National Program Manager:He explained the interventions of DSS case by case and the further action to be taken. He also explained in detail the efforts taken to get the
cases registered, continuous penal and pecuniary follow up with the police and concerned departments to access justice. He also shared the challenges faced from the police & the other concerned departments, caste organizations, communities of the perpetrators by quoting specific instances. Similarly, he detailed about the nonperformance of the duties by the Collector, Deputy Director of Prosecutions such as monthly review of the atrocity cases at district level ensuring necessary action and also the review the implementation of Chapter 4A which says about the rights of the victims and witnesses.
Jhansi Geddam National Convener:In her introductory speech,she said that though hundreds of instances of violence against dalit adivasi women and girl children were taken up by DSS, only 24 incidents with major gaps are being presented in the RTC. These cases would exhibit the reasons behind there incidents, the response of the society, media, government and officials in preventing the atrocities, similarly the role played during and after the occurrence of the incident. The underlying objective of presenting these cases before the jury is that the members of the jury would examine each case thoroughly and suggest the ways forward and the procedures to be evolved for the effective implementation of the Act. The State & National Commissions, Committees need to function effectively for the implementation of special Acts. The police, concerned sections intended for the implementation of pecuniary are to be sensitized and imparted knowledge on the Act as they don’t carry the spirit of the Act and
pass on humiliating comments on the victims of rape & cheating in the name of love stating that they get lakhs of rupees easily. The situation of victims is very vulnerable in cheating in the name of love incidents as they are illtreated by the family members and the society, thus pushing them in to more help less and traumatic conditions. Therefore, sanction of monthly pension as per the Act will be of great help to them and it is so sad that not even a single victim has been sanctioned pension in both the Telugu states since for the past many years. Stating the social and economic boycott of Dalits in Garagaparru village, the failure of all the concerned government departments in restoring normalcy and take necessary preventive measures has led to the murder of Yacob. She also lamented at the police explaining the way investigation is going ahead to prove Yacob’s murder as an accident by omitting all the evidences which say that Yacob has been murdered. The Dalits have to struggle for existence throughout their life and when can they travel in the direction of achieving equality.
Later the victims came before the Jury case by case and narrated about the injustice done to them, demanding necessary immediate action.
Responses from the Jury:
Sri B. Rama Koteswara Rao Joint Director and In-charge Director of Director of Prosecutions:He said that in the registration of the case and investigation, prosecution has no role and their intervention starts once the charge sheet is filed in the court and till judgement. Responding to the summons given by the police in very short span of time from the date of trial, he said that already necessary instructions were given to the SHOs to see that the summons are given at least 1 week before the trial. He said that 10 cases have been selected from the prosecution side and are being closely monitored to see whether the charges are framed properly or not, is the trial going towards conviction or acquittal etc and necessary action will be initiated as and when required.He said that the victims have right to audience in bail and other petitions and ensured that the prosecution will extend necessary support. The cases for appeals are being send to the concerned district police officials for appeal in high court. The police have to arrest the accused through CrPC 41 (A) notice.Then only the judicial
officers have to take necessary action within 24 hours. The cases under Atrocity Act are non-bailable; the police have no right to leave them and at any cost they have to arrest the accused.He promised to review the cases and ensure that the rights of victims and witnesses are protected as per the Act take necessary action for its implementation. Responding on the compensation to the victims, stating the supreme court judgement he said that the assets of the accused are to be assessed and confiscated and victims to be paid compensation apart from the compensation paid by the government. He also said that not only SC/STs, in every case the victims have to be paid a compensation of Rs3 lakhs for murder and Rs 2lakhs for rapes under Victims Compensation Fund created in 2015. Similarly,as per the recommendations of the Supreme Court to enhance the same to Rs 8 lakhs, a proposal has been sent to the government and it has accepted to enhance accordingly. It is a fact that long pendency of cases is there in the special courts and in high court. This needs to be sorted out at government level and ensure that only atrocity cases are trialed. He has assured to represent the pendency in Special Courts to the government and has said that regarding the stays in high court, based on the supreme court directions a letter has been sent to high court for vacating the stays within 6 months. He guaranteed all necessary support to the victims from the prosecution and has asked DSS to approach directly whenever necessary.
Sri G RaghuRam Director-Social Welfare Department: He applauded DSS for its commendable services in strengthening the victims & witnesses, striving for the coordination between the departments, liaising between the concerned duty bearers and extending all necessary support in a positive way to strengthen the measures for accessing justice. He also shared
that many times got clarity on the subject matter from DSS team. He shared his association with DSS for the past 10 years and participating in their major events such as Annual Conferences, Round Table Conferences and Public Hearings. DSS was instrumental in bringing the amendments to the Act and is the organization which brought the Act in Telugu language which is of great use today for the community. The police officials below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police/Assistant Commissioner of Police and up to the constable level need to be created awareness on the Act and have to be sensitized. He said that the Social Welfare Department has passed instructions to the PCR Cell to organize awareness meetings on the Act to the police officials. He strongly said that there are clear instructions to the District Collectors on the immediate payment of compensation, the budget shouldn’t be a barrier and any pendency in the payment of compensation, the concerned district administration is responsible. He promised to discuss the issues raised in this RTC in the state level review of the concerned officers to be held on 3rd August 2017. He ensured the payment of 2nd stage compensation and TA/DA to the victims & witnesses. We will take all the unresolved issues to the higher officials.
N. Paul Diwakar Chairman of Asia Dalit Rights Forum:He appreciated victims and witnesses for taking initiation to come and participate in the RTC and raising their voices strongly against the injustice done to them.We can’t say that how painful will it be for the survivors but after hearing the agonies it is so painful to us like someone stabbing us.He has said that we will fight democratically for justice against all odds. Police, Social Welfare and Judiciary departments need to be strengthened for the effective implementation of the SC, ST (PoA) Act. The society often tries to suppresses and forces to shut the mouths of the victims and we too feel ashamed. It is the one who has committed the offence has to feel ashamed but not WE. Sharing the experience of way back in 1999 at Madhurai where himself along with Jhansi and others organized a Public Hearing and so many intellectuals and media questioned that how do you bring the victims of such a sensitive issue into the public arena and we opposed saying it’s not we but the society has to feel embarrassedand the root caused have to be changed. The police, social welfare and judiciary have to bring change in the society in a democratic way. No one should ever face these types of atrocities and we as Ambedkarites need to educate, organize and agitate to liberate the society even risking our lives. Judiciary, Police and Social Welfare departments have to discharge their duties in a triangular manner
manner and we need to sensitize these departments towards our cause. Build a strong movement and establish a violence free democratic society. Earlier we never use to intervene with police department, but organize public actions demanding justice. We need to educate the women, youth and our children about the police department, we shouldn’t treat the police as enemies and turn them towards us in a legal way. He advised the victims not to get dejected, strengthen themselves and shape as human rights defenders with the active support of DSS. DSS has done a tremendous work, succeeded in changing many PPs, sensitizing the judges.
Sri B. Satyanarayana Reddy – Judge (Retd):He said that many cases are there where the dalit girls have been cheated in the name of love. He lamented that if the non-dalit girls are cheated in the same manner by the dalits we can’t even find the dead bodies of the dalit
boys. It is the state of the rich and the dominant communities, we need to get educated become economically strong and strive for equality. The caste discrimination has to be eliminated and as Ambedkar said we need to get educated and achieve economic equality. We need to observe and watch our children regularly and ensured that they do not fall in any sort of traps. He suggested the victims to withstand all the hurdles, educate their children by utilizing all the entitlements to the optimum level and similarly claim reservation. We all need to come together and fight against caste discrimination and ensure that all the inequalities are uprooted from the society
Sri PSN Murthy -IAS (VR), Founder President of Ambedkar Mission:He requested the representative from the social welfare department to take the issues raised by him to the notice of Chief Minister. The State SC Commission which is a constitutional body have to
look into the implementation of the Act by all the departments, review the cases and ensure
that necessary action is taken. Similarly, the commission has to submit a factual report to the government on the comprehensive development and the prevailing situation of the scheduled castes, discuss on it in the state assembly and take necessary action. Since this is not happening we will form “Social Vigilance Team” and bring out an alternative report,submit to the government and plan our future course of action accordingly.
Dr Siddoji Rao – In-charge SC, ST IAS, IPS Forum:He said that he is part of DSS, appreciated them for their commitment and said that he has come back from Australia to serve the community and said that he is unable to pick up with the pace of DSS. He learnt many things from DSS and rely on them for many cases apart from suggestions. He lamented that, “Most of the Indians are not civilized, have not grown up, are not developed much; similarly,their education, civilization and respective beliefs have not evolvedthem to treat their fellow
citizens equally”. We are calling these uncivilized people as the so called upper castethough they have not matured adequately. We are also very selfish in a way that when anything happens to us all to respond to it, but if anything happens to others we never respond. The beurocrats and elected representatives are not functioning in the manner they are supposed to do and if we all together approach them they will yield to the pressure and discharge their duty. Ambedkar’s main focus was to bring a change in the inhuman attitude, uncivilized, castist behavior of the dominant communities.
Sri Satya Rayalu – Founder President of DVMK: She said that always we are going through
through some or the other problem and it gives us a sense that there is no solution to them. We never think properly during the elections and have voted to the wrong persons. We have voted to the castes which are intern imposing social boycotts and murdering our leaders. We all need to question our leaders organize public actions until we access justice. The women are treated as untouchables therefore, we all need to wage a united battle to uproot the untouchability and caste discrimination in the society.
It is very shameful that even Dr. BR Ambedkar has been assigned caste. Dr. BR Ambedkar has fought for caste free society and equality for all. We are at a juncture that we all need to come together for capturing political power. She said that her support will be there for DSS always.
Organize trainings to the concerned officials of revenue and police departments.
To take necessary steps for the appointment of SPPs as per the choice of victims.
To give necessary instructions to the respective PPs of Special Courts for strengthening the victims and witnesses.
To ensure the panel of advocates in districts as per Act.
To evolve a procedure for the payment of compensation, rehabilitation such as job, land, house and pensions.
DDs/JDs of SWD to have a meeting with victims, witnesses in their respective districts, identify their needs and arrange for the necessary penal and pecuniary assistance.
SWD to play a main role as the Nodal agent and take the cases to the logical end.
SWD to immediately resolve the 24 cases presented in the RTC, similarly follow up the other casState SC Commission to submit a comprehensive report on atrocities to the government.The government to release a status report on the rate of convictions and acquittals.
Create awareness about the laws and Acts to the duty bearers and the community.
To ensure effective functioning of statutory bodies at district and state level under SC/ST (PoA) Act.
All line departments including DoP to sit quarterly and review the implementation of the Act from FIR to judgement.
To organize workshops regularly to empower the dalit women and girl children.PCR Cell of CID to discharge its duties as per the Act & Rules.
The IO to be instructed to conduct DNA test during pregnancy.
Confiscate the assets of the accused and pay compensation to the victims.
The State Legal Aid Authority to pursue the stay orders and quash petitions against the atrocity cases.
üState Legal Aid Authority to pay compensation to all the victims as per the Victims Compensation Fund.