Extracts from the NHRC Report on Gujarat 2002


EXTRACTS ….


Former Chief Justice of India, JS Verma as Chairperson National Human Rights Commission in his Preliminary Report, April 1, 2002:-

“….9. The Commission would like to observe that the tragic events that have occurred have serious implications for the country as a whole, affecting both its sense of self-esteem and the esteem in which it is held in the comity of nations. Grave questions arise of fidelity to the Constitution and to treaty obligations. There are obvious implications in respect of the protection of civil and political rights, as well as of economic, social and cultural rights in the State of Gujarat as also the country more widely; there are implications for trade, investment, tourism and employment. Not without reason have both the President and the Prime Minister of the country expressed their deep anguish at what has occurred, describing the events as a matter of national shame. But most of all, the recent events have resulted in the violation of the Fundamental Rights to life, liberty, equality and the dignity of citizens of India as guaranteed in the Constitution. And that, above all, is the reason for the continuing concern of the Commission.
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The term ‘human rights’ is defined to mean the right relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India (Section 2(1)(d)), and the International Covenants are defined as the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 16th December 1966” (Section 2(1)(f)).
(ii) It is therefore in the light of this Statute that the Commission must examine whether violations of human rights were committed, or were abetted, or resulted from negligence in the prevention of such violation. It must also examine whether the acts that occurred infringed the rights guaranteed by the Constitution or those that were embodied in the two great International Covenants cited above.
(iii) The Commission would like to observe at this stage that it is the primary and inescapable responsibility of the State to protect the right to life, liberty, equality and dignity of all of those who constitute it. It is also the responsibility of the State to ensure that such rights are not violated either through overt acts, or through abetment or negligence. It is a clear and emerging principle of human rights jurisprudence that the State is responsible not only for the acts of its own agents, but also for the acts of non-State players acting within its jurisdiction. The State is, in addition, responsible for any inaction that may cause or facilitate the violation of human rights.
(iv) The first question that arises therefore is whether the State has discharged its responsibilities appropriately in accordance with the above. It has been stated in the Report of the State Government that the attack on kar sevaks in Godhra occurred in the absence of “specific information about the return of kar sevaks from Ayodhya” (p. 12 of the Report). It is also asserted that while there were intelligence inputs pertaining to the movement of kar sevaks to Ayodhya between 10-15 March 2002, there were no such in-puts concerning their return either from the State Intelligence Branch or the Central Intelligence Agencies (p. 5) and that the “only message” about the return of kar sevaks, provided by the Uttar Pradesh police, was received in Gujarat on 28 February 2002 i.e., after the tragic incident of 27 February 2002 and even that did not relate to a possible attack on the Sabarmati Express.
(v) The Commission is deeply concerned to be informed of this. It would appear to constitute an extraordinary lack of appreciation of the potential dangers of the situation, both by the Central and State intelligence agencies. This is the more so given the history of communal violence in Gujarat. The Report of the State Government itself states:
“The State of Gujarat has a long history of communal riots. Major riots have been occurring periodically in the State since 1969. Two Commissions of Inquiry viz., the Jagmohan Reddy Commission of Inquiry, 1969, and the Dave Commission of Inquiry, 1985, were constituted to go into the widespread communal violence that erupted in the State from time to time. Subsequently, major communal incidents all over the State have taken place in 1990 and in 1992-93 following the Babri Masjid episode. In fact, between 1970 and 2002, Gujarat has witnessed 443 major communal incidents. Even minor altercations, over trivial matters like kite flying have led to communal violence.” (p. 127).
The Report adds that the Godhra incident occurred at a time when the environment was already surcharged due to developments in Ayodhya and related events (also p. 127).
Indeed, it has been reported to the Commission that, in intelligence parlance, several places of the State have been classified as communally sensitive or hyper-sensitive and that, in many cities of the State, including Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Godhra, members of both the majority and minority communities are constantly in a state of preparedness to face the perceived danger of communal violence. In such circumstances, the police are reported to be normally well prepared to handle such dangers and it is reported to be standard practice to alert police stations down the line when sensitive situations are likely to develop.
(vi) Given the above, the Commission is constrained to observe that a serious failure of intelligence and action by the State Government marked the events leading to the Godhra tragedy and the subsequent deaths and destruction that occurred. On the face of it, in the light of the history of communal violence in Gujarat, recalled in the Report of the State Government itself, the question must arise whether the principle of ‘res ipsa loquitur’ (‘the affair speaking for itself’) should not apply in this case in assessing the degree of State responsibility in the failure to protect the life, liberty, equality and dignity of the people of Gujarat. The Commission accordingly requests the response of the Central and State Governments on this matter, it being the primary and inescapable responsibility of the State to protect such rights and to be responsible for the acts not only of its own agents, but also for the acts of non-State players within its jurisdiction and any inaction that may cause or facilitate the violation of human rights. Unless rebutted by the State Government, the adverse inference arising against it would render it accountable. The burden is therefore now on the State Government to rebut this presumption.
(vii) An ancilliary question that arises is whether there was adequate anticipation in regard to the measures to be taken, and whether these measures were indeed taken, to ensure that the tragic events in Godhra would not occur and would not lead to serious repercussions elsewhere. The Commission has noted that many instances are recorded in the Report of prompt and courageous action by District Collectors, Commissioners and Superintendents of Police and other officers to control the violence and to deal with its consequences through appropriate preventive measures and, thereafter, through rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures. The Commission cannot but note, however, that the Report itself reveals that while some communally-prone districts succeeded in controlling the violence, other districts – sometimes less prone to such violence – succumbed to it. In the same vein, the Report further indicates that while the factors underlining the danger of communal violence spreading were common to all districts, and that, “in the wake of the call for the ‘Gujarat Bandh’ and the possible fall-out of the Godhra incident, the State Government took all possible precautions” (p. 128), some districts withstood the dangers far more firmly than did others. Such a development clearly points to local factors and players overwhelming the district officers in certain instances, but not in others. Given the widespread reports and allegations of groups of well-organized persons, armed with mobile telephones and addresses, singling out certain homes and properties for death and destruction in certain districts – sometimes within view of police stations and personnel – the further question arises as to what the factors were, and who the players were in the situations that went out of control. The Commission requests the comments of the State Government on these matters.
(viii) The Commission has noted that while the Report states that the Godhra incident was “premeditated” (p. 5), the Report does not clarify as to who precisely was responsible for this incident. Considering its gruesome nature and catastrophic consequences, the team of the Commission that visited Godhra on 22 March 2002 was concerned to note from the comments of the Special IGP, CID Crime that while two cases had been registered, they were being investigated by an SDPO of the Western Railway and that no major progress had been made until then. In the light of fact that numerous allegations have been made both in the media and to the team of the Commission to the effect that FIRs in various instances were being distorted or poorly recorded, and that senior political personalities were seeking to ‘influence’ the working of police stations by their presence within them, the Commission is constrained to observe that there is a widespread lack of faith in the integrity of the investigating process and the ability of those conducting investigations. The Commission notes, for instance, that in Ahmedabad, in most cases, looting was “reported in well-to-do localities by relatively rich people” (p. 130). Yet the Report does not identify who these persons were. The conclusion cannot but be drawn that there is need for greater transparency and integrity to investigate the instances of death and destruction appropriately and to instil confidence in the public mind.
(ix) The Report takes the view that “the major incidents of violence were contained within the first 72 hours.” It asserts, however, that “on account of widespread reporting both in the visual as well as the electronic media, incidents of violence on a large-scale started occurring in Ahmedabad, Baroda cities and some towns of Panchmahals, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, etc” in spite of “all possible precautions having been taken” (p. 128-129). The Report also adds that various comments attributed to the Chief Minister and Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad, among others, were torn out of context by the media, or entirely without foundation.
(x) As indicated earlier in these Prceedings, the Commission considers it would be naïve for it to subscribe to the view that the situation was brought under control within the first 72 hours. Violence continues in Gujarat as of the time of writing these Proceedings. There was a pervasive sense of insecurity prevailing in the State at the time of the team’s visit to Gujarat. This was most acute among the victims of the successive tragedies, but it extended to all segments of society, including to two Judges of the High Court of Gujarat, one sitting and the other retired who were compelled to leave their own homes because of the vitiated atmosphere. There could be no clearer evidence of the failure to control the situation.
(xi) The Commission has, however, taken note of the views of the State Government in respect of the media. The Commission firmly believes that it is essential to uphold the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression articulated in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, which finds comparable provision in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966. It is therefore clearly in favour of a courageous and investigative role for the media. At the same time, the Commission is of the view that there is need for all concerned to reflect further on possible guidelines that the media should adopt, on a ‘self-policing’ basis, to govern its conduct in volatile situations, including those of inter-communal violence, with a view to ensuring that passions are not inflamed and further violence perpetrated. It has to be noted that the right under Article 19(1)(a) is subject to reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.
(xii) The Commission has noted the contents of the Report on two matters that raised serious questions of discriminatory treatment and led to most adverse comment both within the country and abroad. The first related to the announcement of Rs. 2 lakhs as compensation to the next-of-kin of those who perished in the attack on the Sabarmati Express, and of Rs. 1 lakh for those who died in the subsequent violence. The second related to the application of POTO to the first incident, but not to those involved in the subsequent violence. On the question of compensation, the Commission has noted from the Report that Rs. 1 lakh will be paid in all instances, “thus establishing parity.” It has also noted that, according to the Report, this decision was taken on 9 March 2002, after a letter was received by the Chief Minister, “on behalf of the kar sevaks,” saying “that they would welcome the financial help of Rs. 1 lakh instead of Rs. 2 lakhs to the bereaved families of Godhra massacre” (see p. 115). This decision, in the view of the Commission, should have been taken on the initiative of the Government itself, as the issue raised impinged seriously on the provisions of the Constitution contained in Articles 14 and 15, dealing respectively with equality before the law and equal protection of the laws within the territory of India, and the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. The Commission has also noted the contents of the Report which state that “No guidelines were given by the Home Department regarding the type of cases in which POTO should or should not be used” and that, subsequent to the initial decision to apply POTO in respect of individual cases in Godhra, the Government received legal advice to defer “the applicability of POTO till the investigation is completed” (pp. 66-67). The Commission intends to monitor this matter further, POTO having since been enacted as a law.
(xiii) The Commission has taken good note of the “Rescue, Relief and Rehabilitation Measures” undertaken by the State Government. In many instances, strenuous efforts have been made by Collectors and other district officers, often acting on their own initiative. The Commission was informed, however, during the course of its visit, that many of the largest camps, including Shah-e-Alam in Ahmedabad, had not received visits at a high political or administrative level till the visit of the Chairperson of this Commission. This was viewed by the inmates as being indicative of a deeper malaise, that was discriminatory in origin and character. Unfortunately, too, numerous complaints were received by the team of the Commission regarding the lack of facilities in the camps. The Commission has noted the range of activities and measures taken by the State Government to pursue the relief and rehabilitation of those who have suffered. It appreciates the positive steps that have been taken and commends those officials and NGOs that have worked to ameliorate the suffering of the victims. The Commission, however, considers it essential to monitor the on-going implementation of the decisions taken since a great deal still needs to be done. The Commission has already indicated to the Chief Minister that a follow-up mission will be made on behalf of the Commission at an appropriate time and it appreciates the response of the Chief Minister that such a visit will be welcome and that every effort will be made to restore complete normalcy expeditiously.
(xiv) In the light of the above, the Commission is duty bound to continue to follow developments in Gujarat consequent to the tragic incidents that occurred in Godhra and elsewhere. Under its Statute, it is required to monitor the compliance of the State with the rule of law and its human rights obligations. This will be a continuing duty of the Commission which must be fulfilled, Parliament having established the Commission with the objective of ensuring the “better protection” of human rights in the country, expecting thereby that the efforts of the Commission would be additional to those of existing agencies and institutions. In this task, the Commission will continue to count on receiving the cooperation of the Government of Gujarat, a cooperation of which the Chief Minister has stated that it can be assured.

Press Release- NHRC recommends 20 lakhs as monetary relief to the victims of human rights violations in Chhattisgarh


NHRC concludes its two day Camp Sitting at Raipur; Recommends 20 lakhs as monetary relief to the victims of human rights violations

New Delhi, April, 12, 2013, NHRC PR

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today concluded its two day camp sitting at Raipur, Chattisgarh. On the opening day i.e. 11.04.2013, the Commission took up 27 cases for hearing in the Full Commission and Division Bench Sittings. Six cases were closed after satisfactory replies from the State Government. The Commission recommended about rupees 20 lakhs as monetary relief in different cases of human rights violations.

In a case in which it was alleged that 7000 hysterectomies – uterus removal surgeries had been carried out by unscrupulous doctors in 169 hospitals in Chattisgarh, to claim money under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY), the Commission has asked the State Government to submit a detailed report within four weeks. The Health Secretary informed that the licenses of nine doctors in Raipur have already been suspended to carry out such operations. On being asked whether the State Government has made an inquiry about such incidents in other parts of the State, the Chief Secretary assured the Commission that random checking would be made in other districts of the State and if any case of unethical practice is found, stringent action would be taken against the offenders.

In the matter of malnutrition of children and pregnant woman, the Commission has asked the State Govt. to monitor the situation and make efforts to ensure that cases of malnutrition are minimized in the State.

In the case of gang rape of 11 minor tribal girls by the teacher and chowkidar of a Govt. tribal hostel in Narharpur in Kanker district, the Commission was informed that all the victims have been paid a compensation of Rs. Two lakhs each from the CM’s Relief Fund and a number of steps have been taken for their rehabilitation. The Commission was informed of the preventive steps taken by the State Govt. to curb such incidents. These include restrictions on the entry of men in girls hostels. If needed to enter, men would be accompanied by a female staff. Monthly medical check-ups are carried out on all residents. The Commission has asked the State Govt. to submit a detailed report about the steps taken by the State Government for rehabilitation of the victim girls so that they could be considered by the Commission for adoption by other states.

In another case of gang rape of minor girl in the Govt. run Amandula Tribal Hostel in Balod District, the Commission has asked the State Govt. to pay compensation of Rs. 1,25,000 in addition to Rs. 25,000 already paid to the victim under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules. The Commission has also asked the State to bear cost of her school/college education and her rehabilitation.

In the case of death of 25 year old under trial prisoner Kunjami Kosa who was lodged in the Central Jail, Jagdalpur, the Commission held the jail authorities responsible for not providing proper medical treatment to the deceased prisoner and recommended to the State Government to pay Rs. Three lakhs as monetary relief to the next of kin of the deceased for violation of his human rights.

In a case of medical negligence in the tubectomy operation of a woman, named Sunita Bai Kashyap in the Govt. Hospital in Kawardha town, the Commission has directed the State Govt. to pay compensation of Rs.2.5 lakhs in addition to the compensation of Rs. 50000 already paid to the next of kin of the deceased. A bundle of cotton gauze, left in the stomach of the victim during the surgery conducted by an ENT specialist, caused infection which led to her death.

In the matter of torture of Soni Sori in police custody, the Commission had sent its two member team to Jagdalpur Jail on 10.04.2013 to meet her to know her condition. Soni Sori informed the team that she has been treated better since the NHRC’s last visit. The Commission has expressed the hope that jail authorities would continue to give proper treatment to Soni Sori in the jail.

The Commission also took up the case of custodial death of one Santosh Dahriya, an accused of kidnapping and raping a minor girl. The victim died due to alleged torture during police custody in Raipur on 19/2/2012. Upon consideration of the reports, the Commission was of the view that it is a case of gross violation of human rights of a jail inmate – violation of the most precious human right i.e.right to life. The Commission found it to be a fit case for granting monetary relief to the next of kin of the deceased. The State Govt. gracefully agreed to comply with the recommendation, if any made by the Commission to grant monetary relief in the case. Accordingly, the Commission recommended to the State Government to pay Rs. Three lakhs as monetary relief to the next of kin of the deceased Santosh Dahriya.

In the cases of death in police action taken up in sitting of the Division Bench, the Commission was not satisfied with the reports submitted by the SP, SIB, Police Headquarters, Raipur in the matter of alleged killing of seventeen tribals including four women in an alleged encounter between a group of naxalites and a police party on 08.01.2009 near village Singaram in Dantewada district. The Commission observed that there were several serious shortcomings in the police investigation, coupled with the evidence of autopsies, they raised serious doubts about the encounter. The Commission directed the DGP, Chattisgarh to seek an explanation of the officer who conducted investigation in the case. The DGP has assured the Commission to get the matter investigated thoroughly and submit a detailed report.

In the case of death of Kunjami Joga in an alleged fake encounter in Kurtrem, Dantewada, the Commission held that the victim was an innocent villager who was killed, perhaps not intentionally, by the police and therefore it would be appropriate for the State to offer some relief to the next of the kin of the deceased. In response to the Show Cause Notice issued by the Commission, the Chief Secretary submitted that the State would abide by the recommendations made by the Commission for award of monetary relief in the matter. Hence, the Commission recommended monetary relief of Rs. Five Lakhs to the next of kin of the deceased.

In the case of death of a naxalite Ramesh Barumana during encounter with police on 13.5.2009, the Commission on consideration of the reports received from concerned authorities, found it to not to be a genuine encounter and had issued notice to the Govt. of Chattisgarh to show cause as to why it should not recommend monetary relief to the next of kin of the deceased. The State Govt. gracefully agreed that recommendations of the Commission would be carried out by them. Accordingly, the Commission recommended to the State Government to pay Rs. Five lakhs as monetary relief to the next of kin of the deceased.

On the concluding day of the camp sitting, the Commission had an interaction with non-governmental organizations. The points raised by them include harassment of human rights defenders, non-registration or delay in registration of FIR, lack of care of mentally challenged people, non-adherence to the guidelines of the NHRC in the matters of custodial violence and extra judicial killings, delay in issue of caste certificates to tribals etc.

After meeting NGOs, the Commission held discussions with the senior officers of the State Government including the Chief Secretary, DGP, Secretaries of various departments, DMs, SPs and other senior civil, police and jail officers on points raised by the NGOs and on the following issues:

Strategy of the State Government to combat naxalism in the state; Atrocities committed on tribals in districts of Bastar and Dantewada by Police, security forces and Salwa Judum; Relief and rehabilitation of tribal victims of violence by security forces and naxalites; PDS system in the State; Prison Reforms including over-crowding in jails; Human Rights Education at State Level; Indignity to women – practice of witchcraft; Pre-conception & Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT) Act; Silicosis; Leprosy; Intimation about deaths in police/judicial custody within 24 hours of occurrence; Intimation about death in police encounter; Intimation about death in State Government Homes/Juvenile Homes/Probation Homes; Timely submission of the legible copies of the reports by the authorities; Delay in submission of compliance reports; Non-registration of FIR by the police in time.

The Chief Secretary presented the stand of the State Government on these issues and assured to look into the issues raised by the Commission and take necessary steps to comply with the recommendations of the Commission.

Before the meetings in Raipur, on 9th and 10th April, 2013, a seven member delegation of the National Human Rights Commission comprising Hon’ble Members Justice Shri B.C. Patel and Shri Satyabrata Pal, Smt. S. Jalaja, Spl. Rapporteur, NHRC, Shri A.K. Parashar, Joint Registrar (Law), Shri Pupul Dutta Prasad, SSP, Shri Khwaja A. Hafeez, Assistant Registrar (Law) and Shri Rajveer, Inspector visited Dantewada and a relief camp near Dantewada to assess the relief and rehabilitation measures undertaken by the State Government for the affected persons.The delegation met the inmates of the camp to know about their living condition in the camps. The inmates of the camp expressed satisfaction over the facilities being given to them in the camps. They requested the delegation to impress upon the State Government to take steps to check naxalism in the state so that they could return to their houses. The delegation also visited Aastha Gurukul Vidyala, a residential school in the Education City where free quality education is being provided to children of families affected by naxal violence in the State. The delegation also visited Ajeevika Mahavidyalaya/Livelihood College, Dantewada, where students from Primary to Graduate level are provided vocational training in different disciplines. The delegation also met the NGOs who raised issues like lack of education and health facilities, lack of development of roads and bridges, lack of protection from naxalites to the people working for the betterment of masses. The delegation also met the senior officers who gave an overview of the situation in the area and the work being done by the State Government to improve situation in the area.

The Commission has organized this camp sitting as part of a series of such sessions in different parts of the country, to take up important cases with the State. In the past, the NHRC has held Camp Sittings in U.P., Bihar, Bengaluru (for four southern States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu), Odisha, Gujarat, Assam and Meghalaya.

Public hearings on various issues relating to atrocities and problems faced by Scheduled Castes have also been held in various parts of the country. So far, such Public Hearings have been held in the States of Odisha, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

NHRC’s two-days ‘Camp Sitting’ in Chhattisgrah – Soni Sori Torture #Vaw


SONISORICOLLAGE

CURTAIN RAISER

 

New Delhi, April 8, 2013

The National Human Rights Commission was set up under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 with a mandate to promote and protect the human rights in the country and it is actively engaged in this task since its inception. In its efforts to reach out to the far-flung areas, the Commission has been organizing its Camp Sittings in different parts of the country. The aim of the Camp Sittings is to dispose of pending cases concerning one particular State by hearing the senior government officers; sensitize them about the importance of human rights issues and compliance of NHRC recommendations by them; meet the local NGOs to get an insight into the problems being faced by the people. In the past, the NHRC has held Camp Sittings in the States of U.P., Bihar, Bengaluru (for four southern States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu), Odisha, Gujarat, Assam and Meghalaya.
The Commission has now decided to hold its Camp Sitting at Raipur in the State of Chhattisgarh on 11th-12th April, 2013. A delegation of the National Human Rights Commission headed by Justice Shri K.G. Balakrishnan, Chairperson, Justice Shri B.C. Patel and Shri Satyabrata Pal, Members, Director General (Investigation) and other senior officers will be attending the Camp Sitting at Raipur.
On the opening day of the Camp Sitting on 11.04.2013, the Commission has decided to take up 26 cases in Full Commissin and Division Bench Sittings to be held at New Circuit House, Civil Lines, Raipur. 19 cases shall be taken up by the Full Commission comprising Justice Shri K.G. Balakrishnan, Chairperson, Justice Shri B.C. Patel, Member and Shri Satyabrata Pal, Member. 7 cases of deaths in police action shall be taken up by the Division Bench comprising Justice Shri B.C. Patel, Member and Shri Satyabrata Pal, Member. The cases to be taken up during the Camp Sitting, among others, include the following:
Excesses by Salwa Judum Members, Torture in Police custody, Atrocities on SCs, Malnutrition, sexual abuse of students, reconstruction of school buildings, damaged /destroyed by naxalites, Death of under trial prisoner in judicial custody, Deaths in alleged fake encounter, medical negligence etc.
On the second day of the Camp Sitting i.e. 12.4.2013, the Commission will hold a meeting with local NGOs on human rights issues at New Circuit House, Civil Lines, Raipur from 10.00 AM to 11.30 AM. Thereafter, the Commission will hold discussions at the same venue with the Chief Secretary, DGP, DMs, SPs and other senior civil, police and jail officers on the issues raised by the NGOs and on the following issues:
¢ Strategy of the State Government to combat naxalism in the state.
¢ Atrocities committed on tribals in districts of Bastar and Dantewada by Police, security forces and Salwa Judum.
¢ Relief and rehabilitation of tribal victims of violence by security forces and naxalites.
¢ Education for tribal children in Bastar and Dantewada district.
¢ PDS system in the State
¢ Prison Reforms.
¢ Bonded Labour & Child Labour.
¢ Manual Scavenging & Sanitation.
¢ Status of implementation of recommendations of Shri K.B. Saxena’s report on SCs.
¢ Visit of Dr. L. Mishra, Spl. Rapporteur, NHRC to Raipur on 24-27 Mar.2008
¢ Human Rights Education at State Level.
¢ Indignity to women – practice of witchcraft.
¢ Pre-conception & Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT) Act.
¢ Silicosis
¢ Leprosy
¢ Intimation about deaths in police/judicial custody within 24 hours of occurrence.
¢ Intimation about death in police encounter.
¢ Intimation about death in State Government Homes/Juvenile Homes/Probation Homes.
¢ Timely submission of the legible copies of the reports by the authorities.
¢ Delay in submission of compliance reports.
¢ Non-registration of FIR by the police in time

A delegation of the Commission shall also visit Dantewada and a relief camp near Dantewada to assess the relief and rehabilitation measures undertaken by the State Government for the affected persons.
On the conclusion of the Camp Sitting, Justice Shri K.G. Balakrishnan and Members of the Commission would brief the media about the outcome of the Camp Sitting as well as discussions with the NGOs and senior officers of the State Government for wider dissemination of information on the human rights issues and action taken by the NHRCfor their protection and promotion.
In its endeavour to implement the recommendations made by Shri K.B. Saxena, IAS (Retd.) in his report submitted by him after carrying out a study about the atrocities against persons belonging to Scheduled Castes, on the request of the Commission, public hearings on various issues relating to atrocities and problems faced by Scheduled Castes, have also been held in various parts of the country. So far, such Public Hearings have been held in the States of Odisha, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. The response of the people to the public hearings of the Commission was very encouraging.

DOWNLAOD CAUSE LIST HERE
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#India -The Verma Commission and Women’s Status #Vaw #AFSPA


\Seven Sisters’ Post, January 25, 2013

Walter Fernandes

At a time when are losing faith in the judiciary, the Verma Commission has done its bit to restore their credibility. The Commission has kept its promise of getting the report ready fast and got a more than 600 page report ready in 29 days. In so doing it has respected public opinion and has gone through the 80,000 representations made to it but it has not gone overboard by making populist recommendations or giving a politically correct report as many Commissions have done in the past. It has recommended strong action but has resisted pressure on death penalty for rape or lowering the age of juveniles. But it has not hesitated to make politically unpopular recommendations such as a review of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which shields many security persons who commit this heinous crime and enjoy impunity. It has also challenged the political establishment by asking parties to look inwards and deal with rapists who get elected to the legislature.

 

One may not agree with all that the Commission says but one appreciates many of its positive points such as taking the definition of sexual abuse beyond rape to actions such as abuse through the social network tools that were not considered criminal or were not known when the law was enacted.  It suggests that what is called “outraging the modesty of a woman” should be included in the broader and stricter definition. That suggestion is important because in many cases of abuse, the defence tries to show that it was not a physical assault so it is not serious. Also acid attacks were not known and the Commission suggests a new Act on it. It suggests inclusion of stalking as a serious offence and that human trafficking should be taken seriously especially when police personnel are involved in it.

 

Equally important is the suggestion that action should be taken against police personnel who do not register a complaint of rape or assault and the call for police reforms. No action can be taken if the police personnel remain insensitive to such crimes. Also the suggestion that the mode of appointing the Director General of Police should be reviewed is reasonable. One is aware of at least two former DGPs being convicted of rape or molestation much after their retirement and given only nominal punishment. Such persons should never have reached the top because if the top watchmen are corrupt who is to keep watch on them? In that light the suggestion about police reforms is meaningful.

 

The Commission faces squarely the issue of many persons being exempted from prosecution either by the law or by the culprits themselves. For example, the legislators do not seem to be accountable to the public whom they represent. Both the Congress and BJP persons on the panel said on NDTV on 23rd January that the Commission had made general statements about many rapists being elected. The Counsel of the Commission had to tell them that the Association for Democratic Reforms that keeps track of the elections has a list of 320 legislators who are accused or convicted of rape. In that light what the party representatives said looked irresponsible. Also the suggestion of the Commission that legislators who are accused of rape should resign or should not contest elections looks extremely weak. Will the political decision-makers take this suggestion seriously particularly if it becomes a prestige issue? For example, politicians in West Bengal and elsewhere brush aside accusations of rape as propaganda by the opposition. One is of the view that the recommendation that the Representation of People Act makes sense. But the Commission should have gone beyond pleading with such politicians to resign and made more concrete suggestions.

 

The same holds good for AFSPA. The Commission has gone beyond a plea to state that the security persons who are accused of rape should be judged under the same law that applies to civilians and that there should be special commissioner to deal with cases of sexual abuse in the conflict areas. They are reasonable suggestions but after realising that the AFSPA is at the root of many abuses the Commission only asks for a review of the Act without making concrete suggestions. That looks too weak given the number of cases of rapes in the conflict areas and the manner in which the culprits find shelter in this Act. The Reddy Commission had made concrete suggestions after the Manorama Devi case in Manipur but the Government is yet to act on it. One is told that a retired senior army official who joined the demonstrators in Delhi and many other defence officers opposed even the dilution of AFSPA though the Home Ministry wanted to reform it. So the plea for reform it looks too weak. There should have been more concrete suggestions for changing or repealing AFSPA.

 

One can find many more positive and negative points. The Commission has probably stuck to its mandate of suggesting legal reforms. In that sense it seems to have done justice to what it was asked to do and in a very short time. Thus what it has done is commendable. At this stage one should ask about the next step and that is a challenge of our society. A Commission of this type was required even before the atrocious crime that resulted in the uproar in Delhi. But the mandate of the Commission seems to be based on the assumption that legal action alone is adequate. For example, one agrees with the Commission that the khap panchayats are illegal. But they cannot be changed without public opinion against the system that supports them. Serious efforts at serious social reforms are required particularly when religious and political leaders tell the people that rapes and other abuses happen only in “westernised India” and not in rural Bharat.

 

A law alone cannot change society as one can see from the extremely low sex ratio among children below 10, obviously because of sex specific abortions or what is called piously “induced foetus miscarriage”. The 2001 census showed that sex determination tests and such abortions were happening in prosperous district despite a law against them. The 2011 census shows that the evil has spread to other areas. The value system of our society that considers the woman a burden is to blame for it. In that context the suggestion that all marriages should be registered and that the registrar should ensure that no dowry is involved in the marriage is reasonable. But who is to bell the cat? These laws will be implemented only if there is public pressure from our society. Now is the time for social reformers and thinkers to join hands and challenge our caste, class and gender values that lead to these evils. The Verma Commission Report can be their starting point.

 

NHRC notice to Railway for arresting deaf, mute man #disability #Rights


New Delhi, Dec 3, 2012, PTI:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday issued a notice to the chairman of Railway Board seeking a report on the arrest of a speech-impaired and dementia-affected man and his subsequent jail for allegedly travelling in ladies compartment of a local train in West Bengal.

Taking cognizance of media reports forwarded to it by a human right activist, NHRC issued the notice to the chairman of Railway Board seeking a reply within four weeks.

The 38-year-old, Biswanath Dutta, who is suffering from mild dementia and impaired speech, was arrested by the Railway Police Force on the November 2 for traveling on RanaghatSealdah ladies’ special in violation of rules.

The RPF didn’t allow him to contact his family through them despite his request.

Custody for 11 days

He was produced before the magistrate who remanded him in judicial custody for 11 days after he failed to pay the fine of Rs 500.

“The Commission has observed that the contents of the press report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of persons with disability. A notice has been issued to the chairman of Railway Board, New Delhi, calling a report in the matter within four weeks,” a statement from the NHRC said.

It is further alleged that the victim didn’t own a mobile phone. His family tried to find him and even contacted RPF but they allegedly failed to inform them about his arrest.

 

Attack on Dalit colonies pre-planned, says commission


Dharmapuri, November 12, 2012

PTI

A Dalit woman grieves over the property damage at her house in Natham colony in Naikkankottai on Friday. Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan
The Hindu
A Dalit woman grieves over the property damage at her house in Natham colony in Naikkankottai on Friday. Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Taking a serious view of the recent violence in which 268 huts at three Dalit colonies in the district were set on fire, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, which visited the violence-hit areas, on Monday said the attack was “out and out pre-planned.”

The Commission inferred from the visit that the attack was “out and out pre-planned and organised crime” against the Dalit community, NCSC Chairman P.L. Punia told reporters.

The violence was triggered after a man committed suicide on November 7 over his daughter’s marriage to a Dalit.

Mr. Punia said the mob had attacked a Dalit family in Kondampatti village where an inter-caste marriage had happened, revealing that they were taking revenge.

Petrol bombs were hurled at four-wheelers, two-wheelers, and valuables looted from houses revealing that it was not a sudden attack but a pre-planned one, the NCSC chairman said.

No casualty was reported. But all the houses in the colonies suffered damaged, Mr. Punia said, adding that the villagers were in a state of shock.

The Commission praised the district administration and police personnel who acted swiftly to arrest 126 culprits in connection with the violence.

As many as 40 houses were damaged and 175 houses were partially damaged, Mr. Punia said, adding that the government had provided only temporary relief measures. The estimated loss was roughly about Rs. seven crore.

The district administration should constitute a peace committee, Mr. Punia said.

As school girls of affected villages felt afraid to go to school, the district administration should arrange buses with police protection for a couple of weeks till the situation returns to normal, the Commission recommended.

The Commission would recommend to the government to constitute a separate body to provide counselling to the victims, Mr. Punia said.

A senior official of the National Commission for SC/ST had visited the three Dalit colonies on November 10.

 

Gujarat govt admits some documents related to 2002 riots were destroyed #NarendraModi


Published: Friday, Nov 2, 2012, 21:04 IST
Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: PTI

 

The Gujarat government has admitted before Justice GT Nanavati Commission that some documents related to 2002 post-Godhra riots were destroyed by it ‘in routine course’.

This was disclosed today in an order passed by the Commission on an application filed by suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had sought inspection of certain sensitive documents pertaining to the riots.

In its order today, the Commission referred to the letter received from the office of Additional Director General (Intelligence) on October 18, 2012 which said, “Some of the documents sought for inspection have been destroyed in routine course and they are not available for producing them before this Commission”.

Referring to the letter, the Commission today directed the state government to file an affidavit.

“A responsible officer of the Government should put this fact in an affidavit for final clarification,” the Commission said.

With the state seeking time to file an affidavit till November 6, the Commission has scheduled further hearing in the case on November 7 when it may decide the question of relevance of those documents for examination by Bhatt.

Defending the government, counsel for the state government today argued that, “those documents were falling in the Category ‘G’ and it is a routine procedure not to keep them beyond one year.”

Last year also, a senior counsel appearing for the state government had told the media that documents sought by Bhatt were already destroyed. The state government, however, had denied that documents were destroyed.

Responding to the state government’s admission, Bhatt said today, “This is evidence of systematic effort to destroy sensitive documents pertaining to 2002 riots which can corroborate the complicity of the state machinery.”

Bhatt, who alleged complicity of Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots, had sought inspection of certain documents to file an affidavit before the Commission probing the riots cases, in support of his allegations.

The Commission had denied him access to those documents. Bhatt then filed a PIL before the High Court last month which accepted his plea and allowed him access to those documents.

Incidentally, during the course of the hearing on his PIL, Advocate General of the state had assured the court that documents sought by Bhatt would be submitted soon.

When Bhatt sought access to 47 documents for inspection based on the court order, only 16 were produced and state has opposed the access to others by citing provisions of the Gujarat Police Manual. PTI ADT PD ABC SMI RYS 11022053 NNNN

 

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