Lack of NCRB data on crimes against Dalit women prevents full understanding

Trends in criminality in society are best understood by statistical analysis of crime. But lack of granularity in the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB’s) annual Crime in India reports prevents a full understanding of crimes against members of Scheduled Castes (SCs), especially the most vulnerable section — women. In this, the Indian state lets down Dalit women and their right to equity and justice. The case of the gangrape and murder in Hathras (UP) is an example.


The NCRB records, on the basis of complaints made at police stations, crimes against SC and the rate of crime.  These statistics shed valuable light on states where caste crimes are committed — and recorded. The data also records statistics on attempts to outrage the modesty of SC women.


What it shies away from recording is the caste of the perpetrators. Are rape and murder of Dalit women carried out by men from their own caste? From other castes?


In the absence of the castewise data of perpetrators, it becomes impossible to understand the caste nature of the crime — and  crimes against SC women remain a statistic.


It is widely acknowledged by sociologists and activists that women from SCs are doubly cursed: They are victims of both gender injustice and social inequality. Speaking at a  convention on the Rights of Dalit Women in January this year in Ahmedabad, Hemangi Kadlak, assistant professor at Amity University, Mumbai, and an active member of the Phule-Ambedkarite movement, said: “We Dalit women have been speaking, screaming, shouting, but nobody is listening or noticing our voice.”


One way that this can happen is that the state chronicles the challenges and threats to Dalit women.

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