The struggles of the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) form a narrative that cannot be ignored when tracing the history of India. In Kerala also, there has been a history of discrimination against the members of the SC/ST community. Though members of the community have been given special considerations on paper, how far have these been effective equalizers?
While the harassment of Dalits continues to be common in Kerala, this article analyses the data regarding the cruelty against women belonging to the SC/ST community, in the last five years when the United Democratic Front government was in power.
According to the data, one woman each from the SC/ST community has been murdered in the past five years. A woman from the ST community was murdered in Palakkad district and a girl from the SC community was murdered in Kollam (Rural) district.
A total of 451 (SC – 349 and ST – 102) women from the community were victims of rape. In the SC category, the highest number of rapes was recorded under the Kollam (Rural) section. Ernakulam City recorded 17 rapes and Ernakulam Rural saw 13 rapes.
Coming to the ST community, the highest number of girls (48) raped was in Wayanad district. No rapes were recorded in Kollam City, Kozhikode (Rural) and under the Railways (0).
A total of 455 cases were registered by the police across the State. As many as 595 persons have been arrested so far for cruelty against women. Out of the 595 arrested, 592 were arrested on rape charges. The situation where almost 90 girls from the SC/ST community are raped every year is a terrible one. Hopefully, this will change in the coming years.