State govt identifies 800 villages as ‘caste-sensitive’
HYDERABAD: Determined to put down caste discrimination, the Andhra Pradesh government has identified as ‘‘sensitive’’ about 800 villages in the State where violence and oppression against Dalits was found to be rampant and has finalised an action plan to tackle the menace.
These incidents were reported mostly in nine districts -- Nellore, Kurnool, Medak, Cuddapah, Medak, Karimnagar, Krishna, Nizamabad, Mahbubnagar and Guntur -- and the government is contemplating establishing special courts for speedy disposal of the cases.
Speaking to reporters after an all-party meeting to review unabated atrocities against the SCs/STs in the State, Home Minister T Devender Goud, while admitting that the measures taken by the government were inadequate, also spoke of the need to create awareness among the people to eradicate the social evil.
‘‘It is inhuman, and shameful that such incidents occur even 50 years after Independence,’’ he said.
Saying that the government would not tolerate such acts and that there was no question of sparing the guilty, he said the equal rights the Constitution provided to citizens were inviolable. The State government had appointed former Supreme Court judge K Punnaiah to study the problem and the report was likely to be submitted within 10 days. At the meeting, representatives of political parties suggested that Section 14 of the Prevention of Atrocities against SCs and STs be amended for quick disposal of cases.
Some of them also wanted the government to amend Section 17 of the Act so inspectors would investigate instead of DSPs as the latter were few in number compared to inspectors. The annual confidential reports (ACRs) of all police officials would have a column included indicating the respective officer’s attitude towards SCs and STs.
Currently, only IPS officers were covered under the subject. Devender Goud also expressed dissatisfaction over the ineffective functioning of the district and state-level vigilance and monitoring committees and said they would be activised.