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Women, girls from scheduled communities more vulnerable to rape than in other communities: PUCL report

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Women, girls from scheduled communities more vulnerable to rape than in other communities: PUCL report
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A report by the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) which studies the atrocities committed against people of marginalized communities has revealed that women and girls from scheduled communities continue to be much more vulnerable to rape than those belonging to other communities.

As per the detailed analysis of the report titled 'The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (SC/ST (PoA) Act), 1989 - Tamil Nadu Scorecard 2021' by the News Minute, there was an increase in recorded crimes against scheduled communities in 2021 over the previous year.

According to the report, 422 recorded rapes in Tamil Nadu in 2021, 123 (29.14%) of the victim-survivors are from the Adi Dravidar communities and six (1.42%) are from the Scheduled Tribes.

Given the Adi Dravidar (20%) and ST (1.1%) population in Tamil Nadu, it means that women from Adi Dravidar communities are 50% more likely to be raped by men from other communities (in addition to intra-community rape), than women belonging to other communities in total (by both inter- and intra-community men).

The report noted that the rate of recorded crime is much less in Tamil Nadu than the national average.

It also points out that as the remoteness of tribal communities does not provide adequate protection, these women and children are 29% more likely to be raped (intra-community) than women belonging to other communities (in total).

The report further states that recorded rape has increased from one in 33 days in 2011 to one every three days in 2020 and 2021 — a total of 129 cases, of which 94 (73%) involve minor girls.

The report also puts forth a sobering reality that 'more adult women are raped' in India. However, the situation is the opposite in Tamil Nadu. "Far more girls than women are raped from the Adi Dravidar communities (approximately 3:1) in Tamil Nadu than in all of India, where the ratio is reversed (1:2). Similar is the case of ST girls and women in Tamil Nadu (5:1), and India (1:1.6). This was the case in 2020 as well, where 66% of the victim-survivors were minors. This points unequivocally to the specific targeting of the girls from these communities and their vulnerability," the report says.

The report also finds a discrepancy in data recorded by the nodal officer and the NCRB.

It reveals that there was an increase in recorded crimes against scheduled communities in 2021 compared to 2020.

Stating that there is a sharp increase of 65%, that is from 23 recorded cases in 2020 to 39 cases in 2021, the report says that this might either be due to the lifting of the COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions or could be a positive indicator of better recording.

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