Saturday, August 31, 2002

Separate police stations to try cases of atrocities

HYDERABAD Aug. 30. The State Government is toying with the idea of setting up a police station in every district, exclusively to deal with cases relating to atrocities on those belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and a special court for every two districts, the Inspector-General of Police, Protection of Civil Rights, Madanlal, has said.

At a press conference here on Thursday, he said he had visited Madhya Pradesh, where there were separate police stations and courts for trying cases under the SC and ST (Protection of Atrocities) Act. He said a Deputy Superintendent would head each of the proposed stations.

Admitting the low rate of conviction of cases, Mr. Madanlal said it was primarily because of the fact that witnesses were ``coerced or managed'' and they turned hostile in courts. "They do not speak in favour of the prosecution,'' he said. Also, cases of atrocities on SCs and STs were less when compared to the attention required on heinous offences. The conviction rate was 10.8 per cent in the year 2001, 7.6 per cent in 2000 and 7.4 in 1999, he said.

The most recent conviction was in a case pertaining to a triple murder that occurred in 1995 at Thadapala. The case had come for trial before the Seventh Additional District Judge-cum- Fast Track Court, Visakhapatnam, had sentenced three of the accused to life and convicted 17 more to rigorous imprisonment for four years and a fine of Rs. 200 each, Mr. Madanlal said.

He said there were 47 cases pending trial. Sixteen more were under investigation. Of these, eight were against Government officials.

Source: The Hindu, August 31, 2002

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