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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: What a paradox? Odisha figured among the top-5 states in country where crime against dalits and tribals is very high. But what looks appalling is when it comes to conviction of culprits, the State languished at the bottom in the country.

Despite this, the glaring fact is Odisha Government seemingly doesn’t deem it fit to set up special purpose police stations to ebb the tide of crime or atrocities against the weaker sections of society.

As per the NCRB report released recently, In 2017, Odisha had registered a high of 2,699 cases under the SC & ST Atrocities Prevention Act 1989. The State stood at 5th in the list led by UP, Bihar, MP and Rajasthan.

However, the twist in the tale is when it comes to conviction under the Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989, Odisha languished at the bottom with conviction in a mere 2.6 per cent of the cases registered.

In contrast, UP that led the chart of crime against SC/ST topped the country in ensuring conviction. The State has recorded conviction in a whopping 71 per cent cases. The trend was noticeable in other high SC/ST crime prone states like Rajasthan and MP. The states had recorded conviction in around 61 and 37 per cent, respectively. Even, Bihar had ensured conviction in 18 per cent cases.

In the neighbourhood, Chhattisgarh had not only registered fewer crimes but also ensured conviction in 32 per cent of the cases.

An analysis shows while UP and Rajasthan have no special purpose police stations for crime against weaker sections, all other states having higher conviction rate have set up such special police stations. For instance, Chhattisgarh has 13 such special purpose police stations for crime against SC/ST.

But Odisha has not a single such special PS, notwithstanding the fact that State police registered around 5 cases every day under the SC Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 and around two cases every day under ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. The rate of crime too is shockingly high at over 25 per cent for SCs and around 5 per cent for STs.

Even, the State Home Department has identified as many as 16 districts as SC/ST atrocity prone areas in the State. Deogarh and Kandhmal have been declared entirely as atrocity prone area. Around 10 per cent of police station areas in the State have been declared as atrocity prone for SCs/STs.

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