Training for SC/ST human rights activists to use web-based tool to monitor atrocities
A two-day training workshop to promote the use of a web-based tool, the Atrocity Tracking and Monitoring (ATM) System, to monitor atrocities perpetrated against Dalits and Adivasis and to ensure speedy justice, began in New Delhi today.
Dr PL Punia, Rajya Sabha MP and Chairperson, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, distributes tablets to Dalit human rights defenders at the Atrocity, Tracking and Monitoring (ATM) training session
18 March 2015
The North Regional Training Workshop on ATM System for the effective use of the unique web-based tool among various stakeholders, including Dalit Human Rights Defenders (DHRDs) from 11 northern states, was organised by the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ), a democratic and secular Dalit and Adivasi network of organisations, under the aegis of the National Coalition for Strengthening SCs & STs Prevention of Atrocities Act (NCSPOA).
While supporting the initiative at both personal as well as official levels, Dr PL Punia, Rajya Sabha MP and Chairperson, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, said that the Commission will soon start its hearing of cases registered on the website, and be part of the Lok Adalats organised across the country. He also pointed out that there is an urgent need for such a unique and advanced website since the Government had failed in its duty as a State.
‘The ATM should be the medium to inform government officials like the DySP, SP,IG,DIG etc about cases and crimes against Dalits and Adivasis to ensure effective and immediate action against the perpetrators,’ he added.
Stressing on the importance of spreading awareness of the tool, he urged the DHRDS to go back to their states and promote the tool at village and district levels for greater people’s participation in ensuring quick justice for Dalit and Adivasi victims of atrocities.
Former bureaucrat and champion of SC/ST human rights PS Krishnan urged the media to take on issues regarding caste violence. ‘The ATM System is a great tool but along with the use of technology we have to remove the prejudice that exists. So it is a lot of hard work and the media plays a key role here in generating awareness.’
Once an atrocity gets reported, the ATM system works by generating SMS alerts and emails to the concerned officials for immediate action for victims/survivors as per the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act).
The uniqueness of this service involves its functional aspect of generating an SMS in real time. By typing the keyword, NCSPOA, and sending an SMS to 9898915455, any person from across the country can report an atrocity. The SMS will be received by the respective state member organisation. After the validation is done, the message is sent to officials concerned to facilitate necessary action against the perpetrators.
The ATM system, which was partially launched in 2014, has seen a very good response with more than 100 recent atrocity cases reported and 1200 case studies of atrocities uploaded from different parts of the country.
‘Since its launch, we have been flooded with queries regarding the operational/technical functioning of the ATM system from current users. To address the functional and technical aspects of how the ATM system operates, how cases are uploaded, how progress is monitored, etc, we are holding two regional training programmes on the ATM System for the northern and southern states,’ said DR VA Ramesh Nathan, General Secretary, NDMJ.
Dr Nathan also made an appeal to the SC Commission and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to officially recognise the ATM System, and link it to the official Government websites for enduring speedy justice to SC/ST victims.
At the training session, the DHRDs from 11 states were downright excited about learning how to use the ATM system. Participants were also given tablets so that they could upload cases successfully from their respective areas of operation across the country.
“i have to admit i was apprehensive at first about the technical aspects of the tool, but came out more enthusiastic than ever. I am sure we can change things and ensure justice for all,” said Vimla Vishwapremi, a human rights activist from Himachal Pradesh.