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India: Government announces stricter penalty for SC/STs atrocities

Friday 29 April 2016, by siawi3


TNN | Apr 24, 2016, 03.40 AM IST

NEW DELHI : A day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s programme at Jamshedpur to mark the end of a 10-day initiative to commemorate Babasaheb Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary, the government on Saturday announced new and tougher measures against atrocities targeting Dalits and tribals while also significantly increasing the compensation.

"The rules speed up process of dispensation of justice to victims of atrocities, are strongly sensitive in cases of offenses against women, and liberalise and expedite access to relief for SC and ST victims," an official note said.

The provisions announced include completion of investigation and filing of charge-sheet in the court within 60 days and specific relief measures for offences of rape and gang-rape that have been introduced for the first time. The measures as well as the efforts to commemorate the Dalit icon are seen in the light of the flak BJP received in the wake the Rohith Vemula suicide in which party members and the saffron students’ wing were accused of instigating action against the student. The political battle over claiming Ambedkar’s legacy has seen BJP and Congress engage in a war of words and the PM’s decision to launch the campaign on April 14 as well as conclude it with the Panchayati Raj Day on April 24, when he is to address gram sabhas, is seen as part of a concerted effort to woo the electorally crucial Dalits.

The new rules delink the requirement of medical examination for receiving relief for non-invasive offences against women like sexual harassment, gestures or acts intended to "insult women, assault or use of criminal force with intent to disrobe, voyeurism and stalking", the note said.