‘Need to sensitise cops on caste atrocities’

Observing that there is a "serious need to sensitise" the state police in dealing with caste atrocity cases, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson Justice (retd) K G Balkrishnan Thursday said most complaints are not registered, leading to further violations of the rights of victims.

"Several aggrieved people have been trying to get their cases registered, but the police refuse to register them. We have directed the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police that no case should be turned down. Such attitude of the police will not be tolerated," said Balkrishnan.

Balkrishnan and two other members of the NHRC — Justice B C Patel and Satyabrata Pal — conducted a three-day public hearing in Nagpur. "As many as 571 fresh cases of atrocities were received by the commission. We have disposed of nearly 200 complaints at the public hearing," said Patel.

Taking note of the several complaints against the Tanta Mukti Yojna (village dispute redressal scheme) started a few years ago by the state government, Balkrishnan said it was time the government took corrective action.

According to a report compiled by the NHRC, Maharashtra has serious issues of caste violence in the form of "forcible dispossession of the Scheduled Castes from their lands, denial of social welfare schemes, grabbing of land by persons of upper castes, malpractices of revenue authorities, non- payment of retiral benefits, non issuance of caste certificates."

The State Human Rights Commission's office has been lying defunct for the past 11 months. "We have taken this up with the state government. As NHRC has no direct role in appointments of chairperson in its subordinate body, we can only make suggestions," said Patel.

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