Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy, on 4 February, directed officials to conduct a speedy inquiry into the pending cases relating to atrocities against SCs and STs.

During the state-level SC, ST Vigilance and Monitoring Committee meeting held here on Thursday, Jagan alleged that the committee meeting had not been held since 2013 as the previous government had laid no focus on law enforcement especially in cases relating to SCs and STs. He said that regular review of SC, ST law enforcement, both at state and district level, should be held.

The Chief Minister claimed that for the first time in the history of the state, the police department has taken tough decisions under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and taken stringent action against those police officers who were found guilty.

He said the state government will continue to provide financial assistance to victims of harassment and directed the officials to provide jobs to families of victims of rape and murder in SC and ST cases. He suggested providing land to the victims and in case of unavailability, he asked the officials to acquire and distribute it to the victims.

The Chief Minister also instructed the in-charge ministers to review the implementation of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in the districts every three months and involve senior officials and other stakeholders in the process. He told the officials to prepare an SOP on law enforcement and effective implementation of the Act. Jagan also directed the CID wing investigating SC, ST cases to review the progress on a regular basis.

"The police need to be closer to the downtrodden communities and provide them assurance. We have already made it mandatory for collectors to visit village secretariats once a week. From now on, district SPs along with collectors should go to SC and ST colonies once a week," the Chief Minister said and asked the officials to focus on setting up special courts, appointing lawyers, and providing assistance to victims.

The officials informed the CM that the number of SC, ST atrocity cases had decreased by 11 per cent in 2020, which is the lowest in the past six years. The state saw a reduction of almost 36 per cent in SC and ST murder cases, 17 per cent reduction in rape cases, five per cent reduction in trauma cases, 46 per cent reduction in incidents of arson, 11 per cent reduction in other IPC cases, and 18 per cent reduction in cases under the SC, ST Act, the officials said.

Meanwhile, Dr. G. Sunil Kumar, the director of the Scheduled Castes National Commission, lauded the state government as the only one in the country to have given Rs. 10 lakh compensation to the victims in various cases. Committee members also lauded the government's handling of incidents in East Godavari (Rajahmundry), Prakasam, and Srikakulam districts and the implementation of the Act.

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