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Children of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Families

CHILD Protection & Child Rights » Vulnerable Children » Children's Issues » Children of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Families


People belonging to scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) are discriminated against in various forms both historically and in contemporary society. According to statistics presented to parliament in February 2003, violence against the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes has been increasing over the years. In 1999 34799 cases were lodged under the SCs/STs Prevention of Atrocities Act, in 2000 there were 36,971 cases and in 2001 there were 39,157 cases. The maximum numbers cases of crimes committed against Scheduled Castes were reported from Rajasthan; and Madhya Pradesh has the largest number of atrocities against Scheduled Tribes. It should be noted that majority of cases goes unregistered. The government of India in their periodic report fails to speak of violence against Dalits or tribal children. The only mention is in cases of rape of a girl child who is also a Dalit or tribal.

Children of Dalit and tribal communities face a number of abuses. Though there is no actual number of crimes committed against children of SC/ST families there are many case examples of violence, rape, and torture. On 9 April 2003, three members of a Dalit family - a pregnant woman and her two children - were gunned down by members of an armed opposition group of the upper caste Hindus. On 30th July 2000 an eighteen year old dalit girl was humiliated, tortured, and burnt to death by a band of upper caste Hindus from her village. Children of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Families

Discrimination against ST and SC children can be seen in evidence of the education system. Literacy among SC/ST population is indicative of the advancement in education. The lowest group female STs, has doubled in the last ten years but is still at a low of 32.4%. School statistics show an increased enrolment of SC and ST students. But the enrolment figured doesn't match the population figures in the various states. Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have the lowest SC enrollment ratios. Also non-attendance among Scheduled Castes is higher than among the general population rates, around 20 % in the 6-10 age group and 29 % in the 11-14 year age group. Attendance rates are the highest in Kerala and lowest in Bihar. The effect of poor attendance and dropouts can be seen in the number of children that complete elementary education. Only 43% SC children completed primary schooling.

Among ST children Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan have the worst enrolment rates. Even Kerala does not have equal enrolment to population. Rural school attendance rates of Scheduled tribe children are highest in Sikkim, Mizoram, Nagaland, Andaman and Nicobar, Manipur, Meghalaya and Assam. Rates in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa are extremely low even with their large tribal populations at 27.1%, 29.8%, 34.2% and 32.3% respectively. Dropout rates amongst ST children are very high. Majority of children drop out in class I itself. Official dropout rates of tribal children from school in 1988-89 were as high as 78% between classes I and VIII. Children of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Families