Yet another case of misuse of the SC-ST Atrocity Act has come to the fore, this time from Bihar’s Araria where a family of innocent upper-caste Hindus has been booked for no fault of theirs. A report by Falana Dikhana says that Vinod Rajak who belongs to the Dalit community registered a complaint against four people for using casteist slurs, attacking him with sharp objects, tearing clothes of females, and looting.
One of the youths who was falsely booked, Dilwar Tiwari, informed Falana Dikhana that he has captured the video of the entire incident on his mobile. Despite this, the police are harassing them by registering a fake case against them. Family members informed that the Dalit youth had filed a similar false case under the Atrocity Act three years ago too. He has been demanding a ransom to withdraw the case even though they have video proof against him.
The incident occurred on 27 February during a dispute over road access between both parties. Following the fight, Rajak threatened to file a case under the Atrocity Act and used a brick to break his head. He then registered a case against the Tiwari family. However, notwithstanding the fact that the entire sequence of events was captured in the mobile phone, serious charges were levied against the Tiwaris.
The video clearly shows Rajak hitting himself with a brick and then driving away in his motorbike. In the meanwhile, Rajak’s wife began attacking the person capturing the incident on his mobile. In his complaint, Rajak has stated that they were targeted since they belong to the Dalit community.
This is not the first time that the Tiwari family has been targeted by Rajak. There have been two instances prior to this when charges were levied against the Tiwaris under the Atrocity Act due to a land dispute between the two. Furthermore, Rajak would demand a ransom for withdrawing the cases. During the incident, a third party present there began recording the same on his mobile.
The family is distressed as they are being harassed in a false case despite having proof of their innocence. Those who have been named haven’t returned home for fear of being arrested. Tired of being booked under false cases time and again, the family is considering selling their house and shifting elsewhere.
On the basis of Rajak’s complaint, police have registered a case under sections 341, 313, 307, 354(d), 379, 504, 506/34 of IPC. As per Falana Dikhana, police have also conducted investigations into the matter and found the allegations to be false. However, the Tiwari family is yet to be officially informed of the developments.
Considering the misuse of the Atrocity Act to exact revenge and/or extort money, provisions need to be built into the law to deter its misuse. The slow nature of the Bharatiya judiciary can ruin lives as was seen in the case of Vishnu Tiwari who was in prison for two decades on false charges filed under the SC ST Act.
(Featured Image Source: Falana Dikhana)
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