A string of crimes against women, especially Dalit women in Uttar Pradesh has outraged the country again. The alleged gang-rape and a hurried middle-of-the-night cremation of a 19-year-old woman’s body in Hathras by the UP police has led to many questioning why there is no end to atrocities against Dalits in the country.
According to the latest National Crime Record Bureau’s (NCRB) report that documents annual record of crime and legal outcome of such cases, in the last one decade crimes against Dalits have risen by 37% while the conviction rate in such crimes increased by merely 2.5%.
Crimes against women in general, too, saw a steep rise of 86% in the last ten years between 2009 and 2019. Besides this, cases of rape increased by 50% during the same period.
In 2009 alone, 33,594 cases of crime against Dalits were registered across the country which went up by 12,341 to 45,935 cases in 2019, the comparative study of the NCRB data shows.
The conviction rate — arrived at by dividing the number of conviction in a year by the number of cases completing trial in a year — in such crimes was 29.9% in 2009 which rose to just 32.1% in 2019.
Chargesheet rate ten years ago in crimes against Dalits was 88.5% which has come down to 78.5% in 2019, a concerning trend as per the NCRB figures. Jharkhand and Rajasthan performed poorly on this parameter with 34.1% and 49.0% respectively.
However, Uttar Pradesh, now under public scrutiny, ensured 81.8% chargesheets, higher than the national average last year in such cases.
In 2019, with 11,829 cases, Uttar Pradesh saw the highest number of cases of crime against Dalits, followed by Rajasthan with 6,794 cases, and 6,544 cases in Bihar. The number of such cases has remained constantly high in the first two states over the last few years, with Uttar Pradesh registering 11,924 and 11,444 cases, and Rajasthan registering 4,607 and 4,238 cases in 2018 and 2017, respectively.
However, the total number of cases of crime doesn’t give a real picture of the situation as states with higher population tend to have more number of cases.
To arrive at a more rational conclusion the NCRB data also gives the rate of crime i.e., the number of incidents per 1,00,000 Dalit population. Rajasthan, as per the Bureau’s 2019 data, ranked number one with 55.6 cases of atrocities against Dalits per lakh population. Rajasthan was followed by Madhya Pradesh and Bihar at 46.7 and 39.5 cases per lakh population, respectively. Uttar Pradesh, though in news for recent cases, ranks 6th among the states with 28.6 cases per lakh population.
When it comes to the conviction rate in 2019 in cases of crime against Dalits, Uttar Pradesh comes second, just behind Uttarakhand which saw a conviction rate of 68% in cases of crime against Dalits. The conviction rates in these cases in Uttar Pradesh was 66.10% while it was 51% in Rajasthan. The conviction rate, according to NCRB, is calculated by dividing the number of convictions in any given year by cases in which trials were completed in that year.
On average, 10 daily cases of rape of Dalit women were reported last year in the country with Rajasthan reporting the highest number at 554 cases. Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh followed with 537 and 510 rape cases respectively. The rate of such crimes (cases per lakh Dalit population) was 4.5 for both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, Kerala with the rate of 4.6 cases per lakh population was first in the country.