Vigilance cells to detect fake caste papers

The state government has decided to set up two dedicated vigilance cells in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack to detect cases of upper caste people procuring SC and ST certificates. At present, such cases are being monitored by the human rights protection cells (HRPC) in the twin cities.

Though district vigilance cells exist in Khurda and Cuttack districts to verify the civil status of ST and SC people, the urban police districts of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, however, do not come under the jurisdiction of Khurda and Cuttack because Bhubaneswar and Cuttack are governed by the Odisha Urban Police Act.

“Just as officers in the rank of DSP are in-charge of vigilance cells in all districts, we will designate assistant commissioners of police (ACPs) to head the cells in the commissionerate system”: twin city commissioner of police Sunil Roy. District vigilance cells were constituted in Odisha in June 2008.

Sources said the police are also contemplating to engage the proposed cells to probe cases relating to atrocities on STs and SCs. While 38 ST and SC atrocity and fake caste certificate cases were registered in Bhubaneswar in 2011, around 25 cases were reported in Cuttack the same year, sources said. Out of around 120 cases registered in Bhubaneswar in the last three years, 70 cases were disposed, sources said.

More than 9,500 cases relating to atrocities are pending in different district judge courts. Though the state government in 2010 had announced to open special courts in atrocity-prone zones like Berhampur, Sambalpur and Bhubaneswar to deal with ST and SC-related cases, it is still a non-starter.

“It is good that police would set up vigilance cells to check fake certificate issues and atrocity cases. But it remains to be seen whether policemen actually give justice to the complainants,” said Haladhar Sethi, president ST and SC Youth Council, an outfit fighting for the causes of the ST and SC people in the state. “At many places, police are harassing the complainants and not receiving their complaints. Government is purposely not registering complaints to evade criticism,” Sethi said.

Official sources said 1,662 ST and SC atrocity cases were registered in 2011, the figure stood at 1,582 and 1,541 in 2010 and 2009, respectively. Last month, chief minister Naveen Patnaik announced to open legal aid cells in all 314 blocks with two legal retainers to assist the complainants free of cost.

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