State govt attempting to win back dalit support.
Mumbai: After the recent hue and cry over the dilution of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, the Maharashtra government is mulling over giving government jobs, pensions and houses to victims of serious crimes, like murder and rape.
The recommendation was made by the Centre to state governments in 2016.
Acting on the recommendation, especially in the face of the growing dalit anger, the state has appointed a committee this week to look into how the government will raise the contingency funds for rehabilitation of the victims. The committee is headed by minorities department head Shyam Tagade and has experts like the former planning commission member, Sukhdev Thorat on board.
The social justice department has issued instructions for the compilation of data on rehabilitation of the victims of atrocity so far. The Tamil Nadu government has already compiled its data, and started giving government jobs, pensions and houses to victims from last September.
In fact, the TN government does not wait for conviction and provides help for the victims, like food, shelter and pension up to Rs 5,000.
The Maharashtra government is now following its example.
“The social justice department has appointed a committee to compile the data to start the benefits to the victims. The committee will suggest in what manner the benefits can be given and how to rehabilitate them. They are studying the Tamil Nadu government’s initiative,” an official from the department said.
The provision in this regard can be made under section 15 of the SC/ST Act.
It was amended in 2016 when the Centre had instructed all states to make contingency funds for the rehabilitation of the victims.
The Supreme Court’s order on the SC/ST Act, that no arrests can be made under it without a prior probe, led to protests across the country. It was alleged that the Atrocity Act had been diluted by the court and dalits expressed their anger over the issue. At least 11 died in protests across the country, which questioned the government and the court order.