Important to bridge gap between ideas of crime and justice: G N Devy

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New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) It is important to bridge the gap between the ideas of crime and justice in the interest of deepening democracy in India, noted cultural activist G N Devy said.

Devy, also a noted tribal studies scholar and chief editor of the fifty volume multi-lingual People's Linguistic Survey of India, delivered an online address on Tuesday on this year's Social Change Golden Jubilee lecture titled 'Thinking of Crime, the State, Migrant Population'.

His address explored the idea of crime as a contested concept, examining current contexts and its historical background.

Devy's presentation outlined the 'idea of crime' as understood by the colonial government in India and its continuing strands by the country's post-colonial regimes till today.

'It is important to immediately bridge the gap between the idea of crime and the idea of justice in the interest of deepening democracy in India,' he said.

It was in 1871, when Lord Mayo, the Viceroy to India, introduced the bill leading to the infamous Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) resulting in the segregation of a certain set of people, professions and lifestyles from the rest of the society, he said.

The communities brought under the provisions of the CTA 150 years ago, are today known as Denotified Tribes and Nomadic Tribes (DNTs). Mostly nomadic in habit, the DNTs, Devy said, 'have suffered and continue to suffer humiliation in the history of modern India'.

'This section represented the migrant population in the history of the world who were victimised by rulers from time-to-time,' he said.

Introducing Devy, Manoranjan Mohanty, editor of Social Change, stressed that migration has become one of the most fundamental issues of our time that required urgent attention.

The lecture was supported by SAGE Publications, Anthropological Survey of India, India International Centre and Council for Social Development (CSD).

The CSD is an institute of advanced research and policy analysis in the fields of social sciences and humanities with centres located in Delhi and Hyderabad. PTI ASG KJ