29 Jan : Uttar Pradesh is ahead of other states in the country in atrocities against persons belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe while the govt has also instituted awards for individuals and NGOs contributing in eradicating untouchability and combating offences against SC/STs."Uttar Pradesh is ahead of other states in atrocities against SC/ST persons while Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are ranked after it respectively," Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar told reporters after chairing the seventh review meeting of the five states on cases relating to atrocities against SC/ST persons.
To a question, the Minister said she was stating this on the basis of figures provided by the state governments.The Minister reviewed the progress made by Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand in effective implementation of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and Protection of Civil Right Act, 1955.
However, she also said she does not believe in too much criticism of the state governments on the issue as in that case the concerned states may indulge in fudging figures.The Minister also expressed concern over pendency of cases filed under these Acts and cited the case of Madhya Pradesh where percentage of pending cases is 71 while only in 39 per cent cases the accused were awarded punishment.
Meira Kumar said even today untouchability and atrocities against SC/ST persons is prevailing in the country.The Minister said she has advised state governments to set up a toll-free helpline to enable the people to report crimes under the above SC/ST Act.
Kumar said her ministry is also reimbursing relief amount paid initially by the state government to the victims of such atrocities and has also instituted awards for individuals and NGOs for doing outstanding work in eradicating untouchability and combating offences of atrocities against SC/STs.