National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has asked the Centre, through the Union Home Ministry, to issue suitable guidelines/advisory/Standard Operating Procedure to all the States and UTs emphasizing that while implementing Corona lock down guidelines, the public servants, including police personnel, should behave in a sensible manner with the people, particularly belonging to vulnerable sections, respecting human rights relating to their life, liberty and dignity. A response is expected at the earliest.
These directions have come after the Commission took cognizance of a communication from one of its Special Monitors and human rights activist, Ms Maja Daruwala alleging that in order to effectively implement the lock down guidelines, the public servants, including the police personnel, across the country, sometimes under tremendous pressure, tend to deal with the people, especially the ill-informed poor labourers, in a very harsh manner undermining their rights.
Issuing the directions, the Commission has observed that it appreciates that the Government agencies are sincerely working to deal with the unprecedented situation to fight the spread of COVID-19 virus, and it is apparently a tough challenge for the them as well as the general public. However, it found it appropriate to bring the issues raised by the complainant to the notice of the Central Government and send the same to it through the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
The complainant has also said that police are doing many good things during the lock down; chopping of a policeman’s hand is unforgivable but those, among them, who are using this time to be cruel and harsh must be stopped. Allegedly, those who are illiterate and less informed mainly the poor labourers and daily wages workers etc, are facing extreme difficulties due to shortage of food and other facilities for themselves and their families. They can be asked to stay off the streets with some degree of compassion without being cruel and abusive using excessive force.
Recently, the Commission had also taken cognizance of a complaint raising the issue of alleged violation of human rights of the people suffering from mental illness during lock down.