NHRC asks AP to compensate Dalit rape victims


National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Andhra Pradesh government to pay Rs 50,000 each as compensation to four young Dalit women, including a deaf and dumb girl, who were allegedly raped in the West Godavari District of the state.

Describing existing government schemes as inadequate in providing relief to rape victims, the commission in a recent order asked the state government to review them and ensure rehabilitation and monetary relief to victims belonging to scheduled castes and tribes even if the culprits/rapists belong to the same caste or community. The state police in a report had told the NHRC that since the victims as well as culprits in all the four cases belonged to SC/ ST communities, the women were not eligible for payment of compensation as per existing schemes. They were also ineligible for monetary help even under other economic supporting schemes, it said.

Asking the state to comply with the order within a month, the commission said those responsible for committing the heinous offence of rape in the four cases must be prosecuted, tried and punished in accordance with law. The NHRC, which swung into action following a complaint by academician-activist Dr P Pullarao, said ''There remains the important question of rehabilitation of the victims of these heinous crimes.`` It said that the rape of a minor deaf and dumb, scheduled caste girl has 'shaken the conscience of this commission. The other incidents are equally shocking`.

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