The consultation, organised by the National Coalition for Strengthening the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act (NCSPA), recapped and analyzed the interventions made by the Coalition, arrived at a consensus on elements of proposed amendments to the act and chalked out effective future strategies required for national, state and local level.
The Consultation was held from the 17-18 May in New Delhi and participants included a wide range of actors from NGOs, scholars, officials and political figures.
The Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mukul Wasnik, was presented with the Amendment proposed by the National Coalition for Strengthening the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act (NCSPA). The minister assured participants that what the partners of the Coalition are doing at the ground-level, he is also trying to do the from inside the Government.
Mr. Wasnik highlighted some of the major things that he will try to address in the amended bill, including provisions so that the non-performing Special Public Prosecutor to be de-notified and the officials not doing their role as per the Act would also be punished and that in the amended bill the provisions under section 4 will be strengthened. Some of his major concerns are that the atrocity-prone areas are still to be identified in many States and the pendency of cases in the special court is also alarming.
Mr. Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary of Indian National Congress, also took part in the consultation and participants raised different issues related to the discrimination against Dalits including the practice of bonded labour, violence against Dalit women and the need of anti discrimination law in the country with him. Mr. Ghandi expressed that they will fully support the effort of the Coalition for Strengthening SCs & STs (PoA) Act at the policy level.
Concluding the consultation action points going forward were identified, including the disseminating of readable materials at community level, organising survivors’ conferences at state and national levels and presenting a common appeal all the Members of the Legislative Assembly and Members of Parliament to endorse, and also an appeal for endorsement by all Panchayats (village councils).