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Haryana, a state rocked by a number of rapes of Dalit girls and women over the past month, rape cases have nearly doubled in seven years, according to National Crime Records Bureau figures. And the state manages only one conviction in every eight cases of crime against Dalits, last year's records show.
Rape cases have increased from 386 in 2004 to 733 in 2011, with most years showing a higher count than the previous one. For cases of crime against Dalits, the state had a 13 per cent conviction rate in 2011.
Over two dozen Dalit girls and women have been raped over the last one month, going by the State Crime Records Bureau's records for cases filed. All of these have involved charges under the IPC for rape, with the SC/ST Act invoked in certain cases.
On Saturday, a 16-year-old victim of gangrape immolated herself in Jind. In the same district, a woman of the Khati backward caste had been raped by three men at gunpoint in front of her children. In Hisar, a 16-year-old Dalit girl was gangraped by eight men while four others videographed them and circulated the MMS clip, after which her father committed suicide. In the last of these rapes, cases were filed not only for gangrape but also under the SC/ST Act.
The NCRB's finding of a 13-per-cent conviction rate is based on a total 830 cases, out of which 568 remained pending till January 1, 2012. Of the 262 cases that were disposed of, only 34 culminated in a conviction, with the accused in the remaining 228 cases acquitted with the police failing to come up with evidence.
The alarming frequency at which girls have been raped of late has brought the government under fire from the Opposition. "Law and order does not exist in the state anymore. While the government is busy committing scams, criminals are flourishing and targeting young girls and women," said Ajay Singh Chautala of the INLD