M A I N   N E W S

Tribune Exclusive
Post-Mirchpur, SC panel to have offices in 8 more states
Haryana to have a separate office in Gurgaon
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 29
In the backdrop of April 21 Dalit atrocity in Haryana’s Mirchpur, the government is considering setting up eight new state offices of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) to ensure larger coverage of the SC population.

The country presently has only 12 state offices of the commission, with the government now realising that they are insufficient to deliver justice in lakhs of pending cases of SC atrocities and to foster confidence among Dalits, who will like to report their problems closer home. At the end of 2008, 98,702 such cases were pending in the Indian courts for disposal.

Of the eight new offices being actively backed by the new chairman of NCSC PL Punia, one will come up in Gurgaon to cater to 40.91 lakh SCs exclusively in Haryana, which by government’s admission has a large number of cases of caste abuse and land grabbing.

Until now, Haryana’s Dalits had to go to the NCSC’s state office at Chandigarh for justice, which ironically is also handling the SC atrocity cases of Punjab, Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh. “The state office of Chandigarh is finding it very difficult to attend the frequent spot inquiries on atrocity on SCs. It is proposed that an office of the director for SCs, Gurgaon, may be set up; it can also have the jurisdiction for Himachal,” says a proposal of the Ministry of Social Justice, actively pursuing the new offices.

The government documents with The Tribune reveal another strange scenario, when the State Departments of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were bifurcated and two separate national commissions were set up for SCs and STs, the assets and staff of most of the state directorates went to the ST Departments, leaving close to 3.70 crore Scheduled Castes unattended.

Additionally, 0.79 crore Dalits in J&K (0.08 crore), Himachal (0.15 crore), Haryana (0.41 crore) and Uttrakhand (0.15 crore) have been finding it hard to protect their interests. Crimes against SCs have surged with 40,000 cases registered in 2008, which are 3,600 more than in 2007.

Until today, Orissa’s Dalits go to Deputy Director for SCs in Kolkata, who also has to look after the interests of SCs in West Bengal, Tripura, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar, if they want justice.

Similarly, Madhya Pradesh’s SCs are under the jurisdiction of director for SCs, Hyderabad, also in charge of the SC affairs for Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh. Rajasthan’s Dalits and SCs report their grievances to Director, Scheduled Castes, Ahmedabad, also in charge of SCs of Gujarat, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

The SCs in Jharkhand, if they have grudges, report to the Director, SC Patna and affected Dalits of Chattisgarh likewise go to the state office in Hyderabad. Delhi for its part has no state office of SC Commission, though it has the highest number of cases of discrimination against the SCs in the government offices. The NCSC has now sought a separate office for Delhi.





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