The anti-atrocities law was initially enacted with the laudable purpose of protecting persons hailing from the SC and ST community from any abuse or harassment over notions of caste supremacy. Over the years, The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 has been misused extensively for vengeance, blackmail and personal vendetta. False cases are rampantly registered under the Act against the members of other communities to settle personal scores.
Recently, Rajasthan police declared that over 40% of the cases filed in 2020 under The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 were found to be fake.
Last year, people in a village in the Firozabad district in Uttar Pradesh fled the village due to fake cases registered against them under the SC/ST Act. According to reports, residents of Gothua village had sold their homes and moved to other places due to harassment of fake cases. Villagers have written on the outside walls and doors of their houses that they will be sold.
This situation, however, is not only exclusive to the state of Rajasthan or Uttar Pradesh. Below we have listed six such cases that transpired in the last 5 weeks.
BJP leader who was killed over a petty dispute was falsely implicated under the SC/ST Act
On March 28, a 52-year-old booth president of the Bharatiya Janata Party was found brutally killed in Pithapur Malak village in the Pratapgarh district in Uttar Pradesh. The body of the BJP leader Dhirendra Bahadur Singh was found by the roadside on Saturday. It was alleged that the murder was a fallout of a dispute between two parties over sugarcane.
Late on Friday night, two people started cutting sugarcane from the field of a farmer, Rajan Singh, without his permission, which led to an altercation between them. Dhirendra, who lived close by, reached the spot and tried to intervene in the dispute. He snatched the bike keys from the two men. The issue was soon resolved and Rajan and his father Nagendra left for their home.
According to reports, Dhirendra went missing after the incident and his body, bearing multiple injury marks, was found on the road the following day.
The locals alleged that Dhirendra was beaten to death by two brothers, Ranjeet and Vipin Saroj, of the nearby Hatsara Mangapur village after he tried to intervene in their fight.
दलितों ने गन्ना चुराने से मना करने पर राजपूत व्यक्ति की पीट-पीटकर करी हत्या, लगा चुके थे फर्जी SC-ST एक्ट https://t.co/3BuGS2SEsE— Falana Dikhana (@FDikhana) March 28, 2021
After reports about the purported murder surfaced, media outlet Falana Dikhana reported how the two accused Ranjeet and Vipin Saroj, who had brutally killed the BJP leader in cold blood had previously tried to implicate Singh in a false SC/ST case. The news report said that locals alleged that the accused often misused the Act to threaten the people of the village.
Woman abused and molested, threatened with fake case under the Act when she resisted
In another such case that came to the fore on March 23 2021, a teacher belonging to the SC/ST community was accused of threatening a woman with a fake case under the Act if she resisted molestation. The incident happened in Samaspur Salwara village falling under the Manikpur police station area of Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh.
संबंध बनाने व छेड़छाड़ का विरोध करने पर दलित शिक्षक ने दी महिला को जातिसूचक गालियां, SC-ST एक्ट की धमकी https://t.co/YxHH5VveT4— Falana Dikhana (@FDikhana) March 23, 2021
According to Falana Dhikana, one Dalit teacher Narendra Kumar Nirmal, who taught primary classes used casteist remarks against a vulnerable woman residing in the village. He tried to physically assault her and when she resisted, he threatened of implicating her in a fake case under the stringent SC/ST Act. The video of the incident had then gone viral on social media.
Maratha girl falsely booked under the SC/ST act for opposing the vandalism of a Hindu temple
In a gruesome incident that was reported from Maharashtra recently, a young Maratha girl was molested, brutally beaten up and booked under the SC/ST act for opposing the vandalism of a Hindu temple. On March 20 we reported how a mob of 15-20 people had reportedly attacked her genitals and other sensitive body parts with stones. The incident happened on March 12, in the Kingaon Kopra village of the Latur district of Maharashtra.
The family members of the victim have alleged that some Dalit locals in the village tried to demolish their Hindu temple, in a bid to build an Ambedkarite temple. The family has even alleged that village sarpanch, upsarpanch, and gram sevak all hail from the Dalit community and had come out in support of the goons.
In what transpired, the accused had reportedly gathered around the Mata Bhavani temple in the village to demolish it. However, the goons faced stiff resistance from the girl, who opposed when they were razing down the temple. The irked goons, along with sarpanch and upsarpanch not only began beating her, flogging her brutally and mutilating her genitals, they also booked her under the SC/ST act for opposing the act.
Brahmin youth sexually exploited, blackmailed and implicated in a fake case under the Act costing him his job
In yet another case a Brahmin man from Patna, Bihar is said to have been sexually exploited and blackmailed by another youth for the last 10 years. Over the years, the accused threatened the victim several times with fake SC/ST cases to force him to establish a physical relationship with him. Every time, the accused recorded the act and used it to blackmail the victim. Once, when the victim resisted, the accused filed a fake case under the anti-atrocities law and sent the former to jail for six months, according to Falana Dhikana.
The matter came to light when the victim, fed up by the act of brutality, took to social media to share his ordeal and plead for justice. He accused one Dalit man named Rajan of raping him and recording the act to use it to blackmail him further. He confessed to being sexually exploited by the Dalit youth since the year 2011.
Narrating his ordeal, the victim said that he met the accused at a friend’s party in 2011. The Dalit accused, at first, made friends with him. He then spiked the victim’s drink. Thereafter, taking advantage of the victim’s inebriated state, the accused filmed inappropriate videos of him. He then began using these videos to blackmail the victim.
Threatening to make the videos viral, Rajan continued to rape him daily for 4 years. The victim alleged that Rajan made at least 200 to 250 videos of his in these four years.
After some time, the victim found a job with the railways. Rajan then started demanding money from him. Fed up, the victim told the accused that he would lodge a complaint against him with the police. It is then that Rajan implicated the victim and his entire family in a fake case under the SC/ST Act and sent him to jail for six months. This case cost the victim his job.
The victim alleged that the Dalit youth did this because of his hate for Brahmins.
While reporting the incident, Falana Dhikana claimed that it had got in touch with the accused’s family which confessed to implicating the victim in a false case under the SC/ST Act.
According to Falana Dhikana, after the incident gained steam, the accused’s family is ready for settlement. However, the victim fears that Rajan might use his videos to blackmail him in future.
Brahmin man wrongfully imprisoned for 20 years on false charges of rape and SC/ST Act
Last month, the case of one Brahmin man named Vishnu Tiwari was widely reported. We too reported, how after spending 20 years in jail on false charges of rape and the SC/ST Act, the Allahabad High Court has set aside the conviction of the Brahmin man.
The Court’s acquittal was based on the medical examination report which said that no sperm or injuries were found on the prosecutrix, who was five months pregnant at the time. Her testimony also indicated that she was not a ‘stellar witness’.
Tiwari, a resident of Lalitpur village, was booked on charges of rape, sexual exploitation, criminal intimidation of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other sections of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act when a woman from Silawan village which is 30 km away from his place accused him of raping her. He was held guilty by a trial court and sentenced to life at the age of 23 in the year 2000. In the 20 years he spent in jail, Tiwari lost all his family members.
Taking cognisance of the case, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India had demanded action against the public servants responsible for the injustice to the man.
Dalit man implicates 4 Brahmins in SC/ST Act over self inflicted wounds
In Bihar’s Arariya, a Dalit man named Vinod Rajak had threatened and harassed members of a Brahmin family. In this case, 4 members of the Brahmin family were booked under the SC/ST Act for attacking the Dalit man, molesting the women of his family and other offences. The two families had got into a verbal dispute, after which, the Dalit man named Vinod had hit his own head with a brick and had treated that he will have the Brahmin family implicated under SC/ST Act.
The Brahmin family had stated that despite furnishing video evidence that the Dalit man had hurt himself and threatened them with false cases, the police is harassing the Brahmin family. The same man had filed a similar case three years prior too. In the video, the Dalit man is seen hitting himself and rushing to the police station to file a case against the Brahmin family.
Four Brahmins have been booked under the false charges of the Sc-St act and women molestation. Look how this Dalit guy Vinod Rajak is hitting himself and then went to the PS for the FIR. He booked this brahmin family under the various sections of the Sc-St act. (1) pic.twitter.com/QX6vrXEzGh— Shubham Sharma (@Shubham_fd) March 27, 2021
The Brahmin family, constantly harassed by the Dalit family and facing multiple such fake cases under SC/ST Act, has been living in fear and trying to leave the village.
Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act
The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, also known as the SC/ST Act, was enacted to protect the marginalized communities against discrimination and atrocities.
The law lists various offences relating to various patterns or behaviours inflicting criminal offences and breaking the self-respect and esteem of the scheduled castes and tribes community, which includes denial of economic, democratic, and social rights, discrimination, exploitation, and abuse of the legal process.
Under Section 18 of the act, provision for anticipatory bail is not available to the offenders. Any public servant, who deliberately neglects his duties under this act, is liable to punishment with imprisonment for up to 6 months. An amendment was added to the original act in 2015 to make the act more stringent by adding more instances of “atrocities” as crimes against SCs and STs.
The controversial law has fuelled a major debate in the country pertaining to the cases of rampant misuse by the SC/ST communities by falsely registering cases against the members of other communities. Taking this to cognizance, the Supreme Court, in its 2018 judgment had diluted the stringent provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
However, the Union government brought another amendment act to nullify the Supreme Court’s 2018 order pertaining to the SC/ST atrocities act. Subsequently, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018.