Kochi, Aug 3 (PTI) A top official of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) today said cases of Dalit atrocities were on the rise in Kerala.

Nearly 1,000 cases of atrocities against Dalits — including 155 rape cases and 12 murder cases — had been reported in the state since June last year, NCSC Vice-Chairman L Murugan said.

He added that the panel was closely monitoring the situation in Kerala and would review it again next month.

“The crime records of the Kerala government say nearly 1,000 cases (of Dalit atrocities) were registered between June, 2016 and April, 2017. As many as 155 rape cases, 12 murder cases, cases of custodial death and suicide, in which the victims were Dalits, have been reported during the period,” said Murugan.

He was talking to reporters after visiting the families of RSS worker Rajesh, who was allegedly killed in Thiruvananthapuram on July 29, and Vinayakan, who allegedly committed suicide in Thrissur district last month, following alleged police torture. Both were Dalits.

“The commission plans to carry out a statewide review, headed by its Chairman Ram Shankar Katheria, in the second week of September,” said Murugan.

He said the commission, the members of which arrived in Kerala yesterday, had taken up the cases of Rajesh and Vinayakan suo motu (on its own).

Condemning the killing of Rajesh, Murugan said the deceased’s family believed there was a conspiracy behind the incident.

“The family suspects that people from outside the district were also involved in the killing,” he added.

Murugan also said the NCSC had directed the Kerala home secretary, principal secretary of the SC/ST development department and state police chief to file a case under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in connection with the killing of Rajesh.

He added that in addition to the financial assistance provided to Rajesh’s family from the Victims’ Welfare Fund, the state government should also pay a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to his next of kin.

It should also pay a Rs-25 lakh compensation to the next of kin of Vinayakan, said Murugan.

Rajesh (34) was hacked to death by a gang, allegedly led by a history-sheeter.

The police have arrested 11 persons in connection with the RSS worker’s killing.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.