31, Dec 2019 | Sanchita Kadam
Some major and critical issues picked up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) include cases of death due to cleaning of tanks, cases of sexual abuse and police inaction as also cases of custodial deaths. It is noteworthy, that the NHRC has taken so much initiative in one year. However, it is also important for the NHRC to ensure that authorities don’t go soft and there is proper follow up in each case. After all, the people of India deserve and organisation that fights tirelessly for justice, and doesn’t just engage in posturing for optics.
Crimes against women
- NHRC notice to the Government of Odisha over reports about the delivery of a baby by a minor girl at the hostel of a state run tribal residential school in Kandhamal district (14.01.2019)
NHRC took suo moto cognizance of a media report that a 14-year-old girl belonging to Scheduled Tribe delivered a baby girl in a state-run tribal residential school in Odisha’s Kandhamal district and she, along with her new born baby was driven out of the hostel and she was forced to take shelter in a nearby jungle.
- NHRC notice to Government of Tamil Nadu over sexual abuse of 15 minor girls at a Shelter Home in Tiruvannamalai district (01.02.2019)
Taking suo moto cognizance of media report that 15 minor girls have been rescued from a Shelter Home in Tiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu following complaints of sexual abuse against the In-Charge of the Home
- NHRC notice to Government of Madhya Pradesh over reported sexual exploitation of girls at a Ratlam Shelter Home (01.02.2019)
Another incident of sexual abuse in shelter home was taken into account by NHRC by taking suo moto cognizance. 5 inmates of a Shelter Home in Ratlam had escaped and said they were being sexually exploited, assaulted and manhandled and the President of the shelter home was also involved.
- NHRC notice to the Government of Rajasthan over reported police inaction in the rape of a Dalit woman in Alwar district (08.05.2019)
NHRC took note of a gruesome incident where a Dalit woman was raped, the video of which had gone viral on social media and despite of FIR being registered no action was taken by police for 4 days.
A 12-year-old minor Dalit girl was gang raped for 2 days in an under-construction house of a policeman. The police even caused delay in registering a case and hence NHRC issued notice to Haryana police seeking a report
- NHRC notices to the Chief Secretary and DGP, Bihar over reported gang-rape of abuse survivor from Bihar shelter home (16.09.2019)
NHRC took suo-moto cognizance of media reports that an 18-year-old survivor from the Muzaffarpur girls’ shelter where many inmates had been abused for years, was allegedly gang-raped in a moving car after being rehabilitated and reunited with her family on the orders of a local court. The NHRC noted, “the victimization of the girl twice, indicates towards sheer lawlessness in the State of Bihar.”
- NHRC notice to the Government of Bihar over burning of victim of sexual assault by her tormentor in Muzaffarpur district (09.12.2019)
NHRC took cognizance of another sexual assault case whereby the victim was set afire by her tormentor. The police had avoided filing an FIR when approached 5 times by the girl’s parents for when the culprit was harassing the girl for 3 years
- NHRC notice to the Government of Tripura over sexual assault and killing of the victim by her tormentor in Agartala district (09.12.2019)
Reiterating its displeasure towards increasing incidents of sexual assault of women across the country, the NHRC issued notice to Tripura police chief and Chief Secretary of Tripura seeking detailed report in a case where a minor victim of sexual assault was set on fire by her tormentor resulting in her death in Agartala district
Cases of deaths caused by cleaning tanks/sewer deaths
- NHRC notice to the Delhi Government over the death of a worker while cleaning a choked drain in Timarpur area (21.01.2019)
NHRC took suo moto cognizance of reports in media that a 37-year old worker died after he entered a drain to clean it in north Delhi’s Timarpur and reportedly, workers at the site were not provided safety gear such as face masks, breathing apparatus, uniforms and other equipment
- Government needs to tell what it has done to end the menace of manual scavenging, says NHRC Chairperson, Mr. Justice H.L.Dattu (24.05.2019)
While inaugurating the NHRC’s ‘Open forum discussion on the issues and challenges of manual scavenging and human rights, Justice Dattu expressed serious concerns and said, “Merely putting laws in place will not to be suffice; the ground realties need to change.”
- NHRC notice to the Delhi Chief Secretary and Police Commissioner in the death of two persons while cleaning septic tank (08.05.2019)
NHRC took note of an incident wherein 2 labourers died and 3 others were in critical state after they entered an unauthorized ten feet deep septic tank at an under-construction house in Delhi. The NHRC also asked Delhi government to inform whether it had issued any guidelines prohibiting unauthorized construction and cleaning of septic tanks
- NHRC notice to the Government of Haryana over reported death of four persons while cleaning the pump in the storm water disposal tank in Rohtak (27.06.2019)
Another case of death due to cleaning tanks was taken up by NHRC whereby it was alleged that 4 persons died while cleaning the tank as they were not provided with safety gear
Cases of custodial violence
- NHRC notice to the Delhi Chief Secretary and Police Commissioner over reported death of a man after beating by police (11.02.2019)
NHRC took suo moto cognizance of media report that a 50-year-old man died after being beaten mercilessly by police personnel for five hours and was released in an unconscious state. Reportedly, the man had gone to the Police Station along with his son against whom a girl had filed a complaint
- NHRC notice to DGP, Punjab over reported death of a youth in police custody due to torture in district Ludhiana (08.04.2019)
In a case where a 22-year-old who was arrested for stealing a vehicle died in police custody, the NHRC called for a detailed report from Punjab police chief and asked why the case of custodial death was not reported the NHRC as per guidelines
- NHRC notice to the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh over the reported death of a man due to assault by police in custody in Kannauj. (22.05.2019)
NHRC took cognizance of a case of custodial death of a person who was taken to police over a property issue, in Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh
- NHRC notice to the Director General, Police, Haryana over reported police atrocity against a woman in Faridabad (28.05.2019)
NHRC issues notice to Haryana police chief after taking note of media reports about a policeman brutally beating a woman with a belt in Faridabad
- NHRC notice to the Delhi Police Commissioner over reported death of a man inside Bawana police Station (28.05.2019)
Delhi police was issued by NHRC to Delhi police in a case where a 58-year-old man who was picked up by the police to question as one of his sons was wanted in a criminal case, died in the police station. The police claimed the man jumped to death but the NHRC suspected wrong doing by the police
- NHRC notice to the Uttarakhand DGP over a reported death in police custody in Udham Singh Nagar . (12.07.2019)
An 18-year-old boy died in police custody in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand, as he was arrested on charges of theft. NHRC took note and issued notice to the state police chief and observed that the police authorities failed to do their lawful duty and protect the right to life of the victim and that death of person in custody is a matter of concern
- NHRC notice to the Tamil Nadu DGP over reported suicide in police custody in Cuddalore district. (12.07.2019)
A 24-year-old allegedly committed suicide after he was arrested for withdrawing Rs. 1,200 by cheating. The NHRC issued a notice to Tamil Nadu police chief and observed that it is the duty of the police officials to be careful about the safety of the person in their custody
In another case of custodial death, the police claimed the victim committed suicide while the family alleges torture for being the cause of death of a man was arrested in a kidnapping case. He was a local leader of JD(U) in Bihar
- NHRC notice to the Government of Assam over torture of two women in police custody in Darrang district (18.09.2019)
NHRC took suo moto cognizance of media reports that a woman and her two sisters were allegedly stripped and tortured inside a police station in Darrang district of Assam as they were being interrogated by the police in connection with a case of their brother, who had, allegedly, eloped with the girl of a different religion. It was reported that the woman was pregnant and after sustaining injuries, the pregnancy had to be terminated. The NHRC also asked to clarify whether prior permission of the Judicial Magistrate was taken by the police team to arrest the women victims during night
- NHRC notice to the Government of Uttar Pradesh over reported suicide by a rape victim due to delayed police action on her complaint in Bareilly district (19.09.2019)
NHRC took suo moto cognizance of media reports that an alleged victim of sexual assault committed suicide in Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh as the police allegedly delayed proceedings on her complaint. NHRC observed, “it is unfortunate that the public servants instead of taking timely action on her complaint, tried to delay the proceedings forcing the woman into frustration and mental agony due to which she took an extreme step of ending her life.”
- NHRC notice to the Chief Secretary and DGP, Uttar Pradesh in connection with a death in police custody after brutal assault in Pilkhua, Uttar Pradesh(16.10.2019)
In this case, the victim was in custody for a murder case against him and was brutally assaulted during interrogation. NHRC called for a detailed report from UP police chief in that regard
- NHRC notice to the DGP, Jharkhand over the reported death of a suspected Naxalite supporter in police custody in Hunterganj, Chatra District (26.11.2019)
Jharkhand police took into custody a farmer who was to guide them in the forest to arrest some Naxalites and he died in custody. The NHRC suspected foul play and asked for post mortem report among other things
- NHRC takes suo motu cognizance of media reports about the death of four accused in Telangana rape and murder case in a police encounter; orders for spot inquiry by its investigation team (06.12.2019)
NHRC went a step ahead in this case where the 4 accused in Hyderabad vet’s rape case was killed in an “encounter” and ordered for a spot inquiry by its team. The NHRC noted that required a careful probe. The Commission also reiterated that there is lack of “Standard Operating Procedure” to immediately respond to the panic situations by the police authorities and has been insisting upon all law enforcing agencies to keep human rights angle in their view while dealing with the persons arrested by them or kept in their custody.
- NHRC notice to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development over the reported suicide by 49 students at residential Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalays from 2013 to 2017 (01.01.2019)
NHRC took suo moto cognizance of a media report and issued notice to HRD Ministry to report on counsellors and emergency assistance on campus.
- NHRC notice to the Union Ministries of Home and Human Resource Development over reported ill-treatment of Kashmiri people and students in different parts of the country post Pulwama terror attack (21.02.2019)
NHRC took suo moto cognizance of media reports regarding attack on Kashmiri people, including students studying across the country in the aftermath of terrorist attack in Pulwama on CRPF convoy. It observed, “giving such bad treatment by targeting people of a particular region of the country by some elements will destroy the democratic fabric of the country”.
- NHRC notice to the Delhi Government over thirty families not getting ration cards in the building where three minor girls had died of starvation (08.04.2019)
NHRC took notice of a case where 30 families living in one building had not been issued ration cards despite of Delhi government promise to issue the cards to them. This was to be done after 3 minor girls living in that building had died of starvation somewhere around September 2018.
- NHRC notice to the Government of Uttar Pradesh over reported serving of salt and rotis instead of wholesome nutritious food in Mid Day Meal at a school in Mirzapur (26.08.2019)
A video that went viral on social media showed that children were being served salt and roti as midday meal in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh. The NHRC issued notice to Chief Secretary of UP government seeking a detailed report
- NHRC notice to the Government of Andhra Pradesh over reported pleading by of 32 bonded labourers for their rescue from a brick kiln in Anantapur district (19.11.2019)4
NHRC took suo motu cognizance of media reports of 32 bonded labourers from the State of Odisha pleading for their rescue from a brick kiln at n Garladinne mandal of the Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh. The NHRC noted that district authorities failed to do their lawful duty to protect the labourers from victimization hence, strict action is required to be taken and expected district authorities to immediately rescue all the bonded labourers, issue release certificate and start process of the payment of the statutory relief
(Feature Image Courtest – Sentinel Assam)