The crimes or atrocities against the Scheduled Castes have increased by one per cent between 2014 and 2016.
These crime or atrocities are reported under Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989, also known as POA Act.
It was enacted when the provisions of existing laws like the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and the Indian Penal Code were found inadequate to check these crimes/atrocities.
The original Act was passed in 1989 and was amended in 2015 to expand the scope of offences committed against Dalits and Adivasis specifically targeting their caste or tribal background.
Atrocity is an expression commonly used to refer to a crime against SC/STs in India.
It means the quality of being shockingly cruel and inhumane whereas the crime relates to an act punishable by law, any offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) committed against SCs by non-SC persons, or against STs by non-ST persons.
Caste consideration as a motive is not necessary to make such an offense in case of atrocity.
The protections under this act can be broadly divided into protection from social disabilities (denial of access to certain places and to use customary passage and to get water from any spring, reservoir or any other source).
Personal atrocities (forceful drinking or eating of inedible or obnoxious substance, against stripping, the outrage of modesty, sexual exploitation, injury or annoyance). atrocities affecting properties (land, residential premises, existing properties). malicious prosecution. political disabilities. economic exploitation.
The map below shows the state wise rate of crime/ atrocities committed against SCs by non-SCs in 2016.
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