Panel takes cognisance of misuse of Acts safeguarding rights of SC/STs
The monitoring committee for implementation of PCR (Prevention of Civil Rights) Act and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, has detected alleged extortion of large-scale farmers by a group in the district through alleged misuse of the provisions of the Acts.
Taking cognisance of complaints from cultivators employing farm labourers belonging to Scheduled Caste that a group has been provoking the workers into revolting against their employers and creating unnecessary complications in the otherwise harmonious relationship, the Committee headed by District Collector S. Prabakar confirmed two instances of extortion.
The committee that also includes members of non-government organisations working for the cause of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes finds itself constrained to step in as the Police Department is helpless when a case is preferred under the two Acts.
The committee is vested with the responsibility of ensuring effective implementation of the Acts and prevention of atrocities against the SCs, STs and other vulnerable sections of society.
As per rule, the Police Department has to invariably register the First Information Report as and when it receives a complaint of atrocity. Hence, a sense of fear prevails even among senior police officials. They are helpless since they fear that the gang indulging in extortion would file a private complaint against them as well, Subi Thalapathi, representative of Thadapalli-Arakankottai Ayacut Farmers’ Association said.
Mr. Thalapathi cited a recent instance of the gang prevailing upon a worker to file a case under the Acts against a cultivator and later prevailing upon the complainant to withdraw the case after extorting Rs. 2 lakh.
While safeguarding the rights of SCs and STs, the committee has decided to act tough against those misusing the provisions. “If unwanted complaints are filed with wrong intentions, the committee will initiate stringent action against the complainant,” the District Collector warned