Atrocities Against Dalits and Adivasis Increased During the 2020 Pandemic

In every 10 minutes, a scheduled caste (SC) person faced hate crime in India last year, cumulating to a total of 50,291 cases registered in 2020. An increase of 9.4% in hate crime against SCs from previous year, data from the National Crime Records Bureau said.

Crimes against scheduled tribe (ST) communities also increased by 9.3% to a total of 8,272 cases in the year.

The rise in crimes against SCs and STs bucked the broader trend of a drop in crime under some major heads – except Covid violations — last year, due to the pandemic and the 68-day-long lockdown that began on March 25, 2020.

Overall crimes rose 28% due to criminal cases related to Covid-19 violations, but crimes against women slowed 8.3%, rape cases dropped 12.4%, and abduction decreased by 19.3%.

Uttar Pradesh constituted 25% of all crimes recorded against SCs and reported 12,714 cases in all. To be sure, this can be attributed to the state’s high population (it also has the highest population of SCs) and better reporting mechanisms owing to a dense network of ground-level activists.

It was followed by Bihar (7,368), Rajasthan (7,017) and Madhya Pradesh (6,899). Together, these four states account for two-thirds of all crimes against SCs in India despite accounting for only around 40% of the country’s 197 million scheduled caste people.

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