Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission issues notices to the Chief Secretary and the Inspector General of Prisons, Madhya Pradesh after taking suo motu cognizance of the matter and directs calling for a detailed report in the matter including the present health status of all the SIMI prisoners and their medical treatment records, within 4 weeks.

Six members of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) had begun a hunger strike inside the Central Jail, Bhopal a week ago and now they have been shifted to the jail hospital.

The prisoners who are found guilty of sedition, collecting arms and waging war against the government have been sentenced for life imprisonment in the years 2017 and 2018 by different courts including the NIA and CBI Special Courts. Apart from the present proceedings going on in the existing case, the Commission takes cognizance of the recent development with regard to the grievance of the prisoners and their health conditions. The prisoners have the right to Food and Dignity which is the basic human rights and the State, being their lawful custodian, cannot deny it to the inmates, in its lawful custody. The news report has revealed that all of them are demanding better food, exemption from regular frisking and freedom from the high-security block.

The Jail Superintendent, as mentioned in the news report, has stated that these prisoners are not allowed to come out of the special cell as they shout anti-national slogans and also disrespect the Constitution of India which leads to tension amongst the other inmates of the jail.

The Commission would like to mention here that amid spread of Covid-19 there had been a significant increase in the case of coronavirus amongst the inmates lodged in the jails, across the country. Hence, it is necessary that the prisoners are provided proper food so that their immunity level remains satisfactory which is also necessary as per guidelines issued by the WHO and ICMR.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 19-10-2020]

[Source: PIB]

Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission issued notice to the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police and the Director-General of Prisons, Madhya Pradesh after taking suo motu cognizance about the allegations made by women on five cops for gang rape in lockup.

It is mentioned in the news report that a 20-year-old woman has levelled allegations that she was kept in lock-up for 10 days in the month of May this year and was subjected to rape by 5 police personnel including the Police Station Incharge and SDPO of Mangawan area of Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh. The woman, as mentioned in the news report, was an accused in a case of murder and presently she is lodged in judicial custody. The incident occurred in the month of May and it came to the knowledge of the District Judge after a period of five months. Even the prison warden did not have the courage to report the matter to the higher authorities.

It is further added that as alleged by the victim woman, she was subjected to rape between 09-05-2020 to 21-05-2020 while the police contradict, to be arrested on 21-05-2020. The female constable had protested at that time but she was rebuked by her seniors.

The Commission considered the vulnerable position of the victim. She was in police custody when she was allegedly subjected to utmost cruelty and sexual assault by the 5 police personnel. Even a protest made by a female police official went in vain. Very serious allegations have been levelled by the victim woman. Public servants from the law enforcement agencies, who are supposed to safeguard the citizens especially the women and the people from the vulnerable classes of the society have allegedly committed the heinous crime against a woman in their custody.

The Commission directs that the matter may be investigated by a senior police officer, not below the rank of the Deputy Inspector General of Police.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 19-10-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), viewing the unprecedented situation across the country and being deeply concerned about the rights of the vulnerable and marginalised sections of the society affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdowns, constituted a ‘Committee of Experts on Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Human Rights and Future Response’.

The Committee, included representatives from the civil society organizations, independent domain experts, and the representatives from the concerned ministries/ departments, and was tasked to assess the impact of the pandemic on realization of the rights of the people, especially the marginalised / vulnerable sections of the population which have been disproportionately impacted.

After due consideration of the impact assessment and recommendations made by the Committee of Experts, the Commission has now issued the ‘Human Rights Advisory for Protection of the Rights of LGBTQI+ community in the context of COVID-19 pandemic’, available on https://nhrc.nic.in/sites/default/files/Advisory_for_the_Protection_of_the_Rights_of_LGBTQI%2B_Community_0.pdf

The Commission has also requested to concerned Union Ministry and all States/UTs for implementation of the recommendations contained in the advisory and compliance the action taken report to the Commission.


NHRC 

Press Release dt. 19-10-2020

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), viewing the unprecedented situation across the country and being deeply concerned about the rights of the vulnerable and marginalised sections of the society affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdowns, constituted a ‘Committee of Experts on Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Human Rights and Future Response’.

The Committee, included representatives from the civil society organizations, independent domain experts, and the representatives from the concerned ministries/ departments, and was tasked to assess the impact of the pandemic on realization of the rights of the people, especially the marginalised / vulnerable sections of the population which have been disproportionately impacted.

After due consideration of the impact assessment and recommendations made by the Committee of Experts, the Commission has now issued the ‘Advisory on Rights of Women in the context of COVID-19’, available on https://nhrc.nic.in/activities/reports-and-recommandations

The Commission has also requested to concerned Union Ministries and all States/UTs for implementation of the recommendations contained in the advisory and compliance the action taken report to the Commission.


National Human Rights Commission

Press Release dt. 08-10-2020

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), India viewing the unprecedented situation across the country and being deeply concerned about the rights of the vulnerable and marginalised sections of the society affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdowns, constituted a ‘Committee of Experts on Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Human Rights and Future Response’.

The Committee included representatives from the civil society organizations, independent domain experts, and the representatives from the concerned Ministries/ Departments, and was tasked to assess the impact of the pandemic on realization of the rights of the people, especially the marginalised / vulnerable sections of the population which have been disproportionately impacted.

After due consideration of the impact assessment and recommendations made by the Committee of Experts, the Commission issued the advisories on following human rights issues:

1. Human Rights Advisory on Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic: Human Rights of the Prisoners & Police Personnel and Future Response.

2. Human Rights Advisory on Human Rights of Informal Workers during COVID-19.

3. Human Rights Advisory on Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic: Businesses & Human Rights and Future Response.

The Commission has also requested to concerned Ministries/States/UTs to implement the recommendations made in the advisories and compliance with the action taken report to the Commission.


National Human Rights Commission

Hot Off The PressNews

The Commission took suo-motu cognizance of alleged suicide of 40 years old rape accused in police custody and directs issuance of notice to the Commissioner of Police, Delhi calling for a detailed report in the matter within two weeks. The Commission has noticed that this case of custodial death has not been reported by the authorities within 24 hours of its occurrence, the authorities are expected to explain the reasons.

All the reports, including the inquest and the post-mortem examination reports accompanying video CDs and medical report, of the deceased before being lodged in the lockup to be forwarded to the Commission. The Commission would also sought the details of the persons, who were put in the lockup in both the police stations for any reason, during the period the victim was lodged. It is expected that the magisterial enquiry in the matter will be completed without any further delay.

According to media report that the deceased was out on parole after being convicted in a case of robbery & murder and another of rape, a 40-year-old man allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl in an outer Delhi locality on 19th September,2020 and died allegedly by suicide hours later after being arrested for rape of minor.

It is also mentioned in the news report that the family members of the deceased saw policemen beating him in the police station. The Deputy Commissioner of Police, outer North District, Delhi, has stated history about deceased, being accused and convicted of robbery & murder and sexually assaulted a 10 years old boy. The deceased was released on parole on 02.02.2020 and later, his parole period was extended due to pandemic.

Also, the news report states that the single mother of rape victim was not at home when the incident took place. The deceased was arrested on the allegations of rape under POCSO Act and was kept in police custody. The nephew of the deceased has reportedly stated that when he reached the Swarup Nagar police station, he saw a group of policemen beating his uncle.

The next day, the family was informed about the incident of man hanging himself at Samaypur Badli police station. The Deputy Commissioner of Police has reportedly stated that the CCTV camera footage has been preserved and the guard on duty has been placed on suspension.

The police personnel have apparently failed to do their lawful duty at two stages, first when a person with a history of committing crime was out on parole; it was expected from the local police station to keep an eye on his activities through Beat Constable and other sources. Secondly, when such a person was kept in the police lock up, it was normal to be more vigilant to keep check on him during his stay inside the lock up.

The deceased was in the lawful custody of the police. “Right to life” of the deceased has been violated and the state cannot escape its liability. This is a case of violation of human rights.

Apart from this, considering the trauma suffered by the poor victim who is a minor girl, the Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi is directed to inform about her health condition as well as the relief, rehabilitation and counseling provided to her by the administration.


NHRC

[Press Release dt. 21-09-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Allegations levelled by Amnesty International

National Human Rights Commission, India takes suo motu cognizance of the matter and directs issuance of the notice to the Home Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India, New Delhi, calling for their comments on the allegations levelled by the Amnesty International as mentioned in the news report.

According to media reports that the complete freezing of its India bank accounts the Amnesty International Organization in India has reportedly halted all the work in which it has been engaged in the country.

In a statement, the organization has stated that it has been compelled to let go of staff in India and pause all its ongoing campaign and research work.

It is alleged that this is the latest in the incessant witch-hunt of human rights organizations by the Govt. of India over unfounded and motivated allegations.

The news report gives more details stating that on 22-10-19, Amnesty International testified at the US Congressional hearing on human rights in South Asia, with a specific focus on Jammu & Kashmir after the Indian Parliament on 5th August pushed through constitutional changes that divested Jammu & Kashmir of its special status and reorganized it into two Union Territories. On August, 28 the rights groups released an investigative brief on the complicity of the Delhi Police in the month of February, 2020. Amnesty International had claimed that 53 people had died in the riot while Delhi Police rebutted the claim saying that the report was lopsided, biased and malicious. Amnesty International has reportedly accused the government of suppressing the speech and demanded the release of activists Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Sudha Bhardwaj, Surendra Gadling and others who were arrested in connection with the January, 2018 caste clashes in Bhima-Koregaon near Pune in Maharashtra. It is also mentioned in the news report that this is the fifth time when Amnesty International is closing down its office in India.

The Union Home Ministry has reportedly mentioned in their statement that the stand taken by the Amnesty International is unfortunate, exaggerated and far from the truth. The organization has been accused of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) violations, and “interference in domestic police debates” despite being funded by foreign donations.

The rights group has reportedly denied the financial violations charges and has stated that they have been in full compliance with all laws.

INVESTIGATION

It is further mentioned in the news report that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been investigating the rights group since October, 2018 when they raided its office in Bengaluru and the accounts of the organization were frozen. In the year 2019, the Income Tax Department wrote to the office bearers of the organization seeking their clarifications on the subject. It is also mentioned that in November, 2019, CBI has filed a case against Amnesty International alleging that it has received Rs. 36 crore in funding without the mandatory permission required under the FCRA. The Investigative Agencies have also reportedly alleged that the fundraising model of Amnesty International India was in violation of FCRA that amounts to money laundering. The organization has also been blamed for its activities which are in clear contravention of laid down Indian laws. The organization has reportedly stated that their harassment by the government is a result of their unequivocal calls for transparency in the government, more recently for accountability of the Delhi Police and the Government of India regarding the grave human rights violations in the Delhi riots and in Jammu & Kashmir. The charges of the organization have however been denied by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleging that the organization was raising funds from abroad in contravention of the Indian laws. They have also stated that there has been shifting money transfer to the companies and there is a suspected flow of money into the trust of Amnesty International.

The Commission has carefully examined the contents of the news report.

Amnesty International is a reputed non-governmental organization raising its voice globally whenever there is an incident of violation of the human rights of the people. The allegations levelled by the organization are serious in nature and have been strongly answered by the government agency. Any kind of difference of opinion may be a subject of investigation and decision by the competent court.

The Commission finds it necessary to go through the matter, analyse the facts and reach a conclusion in the interest of human rights friendly environment in the country.

The response is expected within six weeks.


NHRC

[Press Release dt. 30-09-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The Commission takes suo-motu cognizance of the matter and directs the issuance of notice to the Director-General of Police, Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter within 4 weeks including the status of the investigation of the cases registered in connection with both the cases of murder.

The Commission also directs to issue a notice to the Chief Secretary to the Government of Uttar Pradesh calling for a report on whether any relief has been granted to the NOK of the deceased as the state has failed to secure the right to a fair trial of the victim. He is also expected to inform the status of any disciplinary action initiated against the delinquent officers/officials.

According to the police, the deceased man was from Gorakhpur and had come to the village, looking for a teacher named, Sudhir Kumar Singh. As soon as he saw Singh, he took out his father’s gun and killed the teacher, according to the police. After shooting the teacher, the man tried to escape but on spotting a crowd outside the house, he climbed the terrace, waved the gun and fired to keep the villagers at bay. A police team followed him to the terrace but the man escaped and was caught by a crowd, which set upon him. The videos relating to the incident emerged later, showed the man in police custody before the mob grabbed and attacked him.

According to the media reports, several policemen were present on the spot when the incident occurred. Some of the policemen were seen trying to control the crowd but the blows did not stop even when the man lay motionless. The police station in-charge of the area has been suspended for negligence. The victim’s head appeared to have been bashed in as the ground was splattered with blood.

The Commission has perused the contents that cruel high handedness by the villagers, taking law in their hands that too in the presence of police force, cannot be denied. A well-equipped police team was present on the spot when the victim was brutally attacked with sticks and stones.

The police personnel present at the time of the fateful incident and their in-charge definitely failed to do their lawful duty. Human life has been lost due to the apparent negligence of the public authority. This is a serious violation of human rights.


NHRC

Press Release dt. 08-09-2020

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Human Rights Commission India has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that a 5-year-old girl has allegedly died due to starvation and ill health as the family was not able to get food and medicinal care for her in Agra district of Uttar Pradesh.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary of Government of Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report within 4 weeks including the relief and rehabilitation provided to the family by the administration and the action taken against the delinquent officials. The Chief Secretary is also expected to issue instructions to all the district authorities to ensure that such incidents of cruelty and negligence should not recur in future.

The Commission has observed that a five-year-old innocent girl has apparently died due to starvation and illness while a number of social welfare schemes run by the Central and the State Government do exist. During the period of lockdown, the government agencies have specifically introduced number of schemes for the poor, migrant labourers and other vulnerable sections of the society. The State Government has made several statements that they are committed to ensure Right to Food, Shelter and Livelihood for the poor people and have been working on issues relating to labourers and labour laws but this heart-wrenching incident shows a different picture.

The Commission has further observed that it is not understandable what is the benefit of announcement of number of schemes when they do not reach the beneficiaries. A poor girl has lost her life, the breadwinner of the family is suffering from tuberculosis and is bedridden. The family is not only financially poor but also belongs to the Scheduled Caste for which special schemes have been announced by the Central and the State governments.

This is a serious issue of violation of human rights due to gross negligence by the local administration. It is for the local public servants to honestly implement the schemes, so that the poor and needy can avail the benefits which , apparently was not done in this case. Had the authorities been sincere and vigilant, loss of a precious human life could have been averted. The State cannot escape its liability and there is a need to fix the responsibility of the public servants who have not acted in accordance with the law to help the aggrieved family.

Reportedly, the girl was living with her parents and sister at Nagla Vidhichand village in Agra’s Baroli Ahir block. The family was without any work for about a month and in recent weeks the family went without food. Many families in the localities like them do not have a ration card. The five-year-old girl Sonia had become weak and had fever for three days. She could not bear the pain and succumbed to illness and hunger on Friday night.

The local authorities reportedly did nothing to help the family-like securing food in the lockdown-induced crisis. The District Administration has said it will find out where things went wrong and they have taken cognizance of the matter and an investigation has been ordered into the child’s death. Further, the District Administration said that the family has buried the body, which they should not have done as a postmortem would have ascertained the cause of death.

Reportedly, the District Magistrate has agreed that the families are suffering and he will ensure that all possible help is provided to the family.


National Human Rights Commission

Press Release dt. 23-08-2020

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that an 18-year old Dalit girl was found raped and murdered in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh after she stepped out to fill a scholarship form online as she did not have internet access at home. She was a first-generation learner in her family and had aspirations of landing a government job to lift her family out of poverty.

The Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police, Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter within 4 weeks. The report must mention the status of the statutory relief and any other assistance provided by the state government to the family of the victim.

Criminal intent

The Commission has observed that apparently, the people with criminal intent have no fear and respect for law and the innocent women, particularly from the vulnerable classes of the society are easily targeted by them. This is the duty of the state to make a fearless environment for its citizens so that they can live with respect and dignity.

Murder

According to the media reports, carried today on 27th August, 2020, the girl was murdered by a man whose marriage proposal she had rejected. The man was arrested on Wednesday. The dead body was found on 25.08.2020 in a dried pond in an area that falls under Neemgaon police station jurisdiction.

Heinous Crime

Reportedly, the girl, second of four children of the family, was the one, the parents had pinned their hopes on. She had just passed class 9th and was about to start her class 10th, the first one from her family to study up to that level. The only source of income for the family is a 2 Bigha plot. The girl aiming to get a Scheduled Caste scholarship would have helped ease some of the financial burden on the family but before it could happen, she became the victim of a heinous crime.


National Human Rights Commission

Press Release dt. 27-08-2020

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission decided to get examined the medical report of Vara Vara Rao, sent by the Government of Maharashtra in response to its notices, by the medical expert on its panel. The report is to be given within 02 weeks for consideration of the Commission. Mr. Rao, a Telgu Poet and intellectual, is lodged in Taloja jail in Maharashtra for about 02 years.

The Commission found the submission as reasonable and plausible and accepted it considering the fact that COVID pandemic has affected the State of Maharashtra in large scale. It held the report as comprehensive which included the medical examination reports of Mr. Rao by the team of doctors and other medical reports.

Earlier, taking cognizance of the matter vide its proceedings dated 13.07.2020, the Commission opined that the deteriorating health condition of Mr. Rao is a serious issue of violation of human rights. The Commission directed to issue notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra calling for a detailed report in the matter. The Commission also directed to immediately constitute a Medical Board to analyze the health condition of Mr. Rao. The directions of the Commission were accordingly conveyed to the authorities concerned.

In the meantime, the Commission received several communications regarding his deteriorating health condition. It was communicated to the Commission that Mr. Rao had been tested positive for COVID-19 and that he had been transferred to St. George’s Hospital, which is a State Government-run COVID facility. Considering potential danger to his life, being a COVID positive with co-morbidities, the Commission directed the government of Maharashtra to provide him the best possible treatment at a private hospital without any further delay. The Commission on 17.07.2020 directed the State Government to shift him to the best possible COVID hospital, the same day.

In response to the directions given by the Commission, a report dated 22.07.2020 was received from the Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra. The report confirmed that he was COVID positive with comorbidities. It is further mentioned in the report of the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra that in view of the directions given by the Commission, Mr. Rao was shifted from St. George’s hospital to Nanawati Super Specialty Hospital, Mumbai on 19.07.2020.

The State Government contended that there was no intentional delay in shifting him to the super specialty hospital keeping in view the requirement of arrangements including security. The case being complex one, required proper coordination of multiple agencies, which includes, assessment of the prisoner’s health condition by a team of experts, required procedural compliance, availability of beds in the super-specialty hospital, which is treating COVID cases, proper coordination with the private authorities and adequate security measures for shifting the prisoner. It is also mentioned that constant vigil was kept on the prisoner’s health condition by the treating doctors.


National Human Rights Commission

Press Release dt. 21-08-2020

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 16 of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 (40 of 2019), the Central Government has constituted a National Council for Transgender Persons vide notification dated 21-08-2020. The Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment will be Chairperson (ex-officio) and Union Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment will be Vice-Chairperson (ex-officio).

The National Council shall perform the following functions, namely:—

(a) to advise the Central Government on the formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons;

(b) to monitor and evaluate the impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons;

(c) to review and coordinate the activities of all the departments of Government and other Governmental and non-Governmental Organisations which are dealing with matters relating to transgender persons;

(d) to redress the grievances of transgender persons; and

(e) to perform such other functions as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

The other members of the Council include representatives of various Ministries/Departments, five representatives of the transgender community, representatives of NHRC and NCW, representatives of State Governments and UTs and experts representing NGOs.

A Member of National Council, other than ex officio member, shall hold office for a term of three years from the date of his nomination.

Click here for detailed notification.


Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

[Notification dt. 24-08-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that a 13-year-old girl belonging to Scheduled Caste was gang-raped and killed when she had gone to relieve herself on the farmland owned by one of the accused on 15-08-2020. Reportedly the victim was tortured before strangled to death. It is mentioned in the news report that there is a toilet in the victim’s house but it’s not functional.

The Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and DGP, Government of Uttar Pradesh calling for detailed reports in the matter within 06 weeks including disbursement of the statutory relief as per rules framed under provisions of the SC/ST (POA) Act to the family of the victim, action taken against the guilty and the status of the FIRs registered in the matter. The Chief Secretary is also expected to sensitize the district authorities in the State to create awareness that the toilets should not be constructed for mere fulfillment of the government records, they are to be actually made functional.

The Commission found it appropriate to forward a copy of the news item to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, which is the Nodal Ministry for the ‘Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan.’ It is expected from the Ministry to issue guidelines to all the States and Union Territories to ensure that the toilets are not only constructed but also used to make the country clean and save the women from the heinous crimes committed by anti-social elements when they go out to relieve themselves. He is also expected to respond within 6 weeks.

According to the media reports, both the accused have been arrested by the police. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Kheri has reportedly stated that the FIR has been registered under relevant sections of IPC and POCSO Act. He has further added that the National Security Act will be slapped against the accused who were arrested by the police within few hours after the incident.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 17-08-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission, India has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that an Inspector of Govind Nagar police Station, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh asked a 16 years old girl to dance in lieu of registering an FIR against the nephew of her landlord who has been molesting her. The girl with her family lives in a rented accommodation in Dabauli West area of Govind Nagar.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Director-General of Police, Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report within 6 weeks in the matter including action taken against the delinquent police officer and the status of the FIR registered on the complaint submitted by the victim’s family.

Reportedly, the girl’s family earns a livelihood by doing some Jagran parties, etc and they had tried to lodge a complaint against the nephew of their landlord accusing him of molesting the girl besides forcibly evacuating them from the rented portion of the house, a few days ago.

According to the media report, the Circle Officer of Govind Nagar, Kanpur has denied the allegations stating that there is no substance in the charges and prima facie, it appears that the girl has made the video viral in order to create pressure on the police. He has also stated that an investigation into the matter is underway.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 17-08-2020]

Tribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

NHRC notice to Karnataka Government over practice of neck deep burying of children in compost pits to find cure for their deformities 

The National Human Rights Commission,  India has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that children with special needs were buried neck-deep in compost pits in Kalaburagi, Karnataka under the belief that exposure to sharp rays during a solar eclipse will cure them of their deformities.

The incidents were reported from three villages in the district: Taj-Sultanpur on the outskirts of Kalaburagi town and Ainolli and Gadi-Lingadalli villages in Chincholi Taluk. Reportedly, following a tip-off, the district child protection task force had rescued the children and reunited them with their families after a medical examination.

The Commission has observed that such rituals tantamount to violation of the human rights of the victim children. There is a need to sensitize the authorities as well as the parents of such children not to victimize the young ones in the name of blind faith.

Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the Govt. of Karnataka through its Chief Secretary calling for a detailed report in the matter.

The Commission would like to know whether, apart from Kalaburagi, this inhuman practice is prevalent in other districts of the State, if so, what action is being taken by the authorities. The report must include if the State Government has issued any guidelines with regard to the subject and status of its implementation. The response is expected within six weeks. The Chief Secretary of the State is expected to look into the matter personally.

Issuing the notice, the Commission has observed that due to spread of COVID-19 virus, the social distancing is being maintained and it is not advisable to organize awareness camps etc. in the villages but through local authorities, with the help of media and various digital modes like video conferencing etc., the awareness with regard to the ill practice and its impact on the tender minds of the children is required to be created amongst the public at large.

Commission has further observed that the ritual appears weird, unethical and cruel towards poor kids, who are being treated with indignity in the name of faith.

Today, when the medical science is progressing and very complicated surgeries are being conducted in the country itself, the young children with deformities required medical care and treatment and not such kind of inhuman practice, which not only subjects them to humiliation but may also cause a kind of inferiority complex. A child who would suffer such trauma will find it definitely very hard to overcome its adverse impact. It will be a nightmare for him/her throughout life.

According to the media report, some sources in the district administration had revealed that the poor children remained buried in the pits for the full duration of the solar eclipse in the rerun of a similar incident reported a decade ago.

The Child Welfare Committee had reportedly intervened into the matter and its Chairman had stated that the rescued children were handed over to their parents after a counseling session. The news report also revealed that one Dr. S. Kamareddy, an orthopaedic surgeon from Kalaburagi town, had offered to perform the rectification surgeries on children, without any cost. The incident was reported earlier also sometime back.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 10-08-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that 3 minors among 7 persons have died in a candle factory fire in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh on 05.07.2020. Reportedly, the factory was operating illegally without adequate paperwork, at an under construction house. It is stated that by the time police, fire officials and the local residents rescued the persons trapped in the building, 7 people were charred to death.

The injured have been admitted to the Subharti Medical College at Meerut and the cause of fire is being investigated by the authorities.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter, within four weeks including the action taken against the factory owner and the delinquent officers/ officials, status of the medical treatment being provided to the injured and relief/ rehabilitation provided to the aggrieved, by the State.

It is necessary for the local administration to fix the responsibility of the concerned officer and start departmental/ criminal proceedings against them, immediately to ensure justice to the victims and their families.

Issuing the notice the Commission has observed that it is mentioned in the news report that once a police team had conducted a raid at the alleged illegal factory but no action was taken by them. The factory has been operational for a period of one and a half years hence, it is difficult to believe that the local authorities were not aware of the said illegal unit under their jurisdiction. The incident indicates towards sheer negligent attitude of the civil as well as police authorities due to which several people have lost their lives and many are seriously injured. This is a case of violation of human rights.

According to the media report, the SP, Rural, Ghaziabad has informed that the FIR has been reportedly registered against the factory owner and it is stated that the guilty will be arrested soon. The eyewitnesses have reportedly stated that there were approximately 40 people working in the small building and there was a loud explosion followed by screams when the local people rushed to the spot. It is also stated by the local residents that the police team had once come to raid the particular place but they were perhaps paid off by the factory owner. A police officer posted in Modi Nagar PS has now been placed under suspension as mentioned in the news report. Some workers at the factory reportedly could escape by breaking a wall of the factory, who were working on the other part of the building.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 06-07-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that a one year old child, suffering from fever and swollen neck, died as he was not attended by the doctors at the District Hospital Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh. After waiting 45 minutes his poor parents were told to take him to the District Hospital, Kanpur for treatment. The poor family, having no money with them was not in a position to take the child to the district hospital and later when the matter came into the notice of some media persons and other officers, the child was admitted in the hospital where he died after sometime.

Looking into the gravity of the reported issue, the Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter, within four weeks including the action taken against the delinquent doctors/ officials of the hospital concerned and status of any relief given to the family of the deceased child by the State Government.

According to the media report, carried on 30th June, 2020, the family of the victim child has reportedly alleged that the doctors refused to treat him and even did not bother to touch the child. The family has alleged that due to sheer negligence by the doctors, the treatment to save the life of the child was not provided in time, which resulted into death of their son. The District Magistrate and the CMO have reportedly denied the allegations stating that the child was brought to the hospital in very serious condition and the doctors had provided necessary medical treatment to the child. Reportedly, a video of a man clinging to the body of his one-year-old son in his arms, his wife sitting at a distance and both crying bitterly, had also emerged from the district hospital of Kannauj on Monday.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, raise serious issue of violation of human rights. This is not the first case of alleged negligence and denial of treatment to the patients by doctors in the recent past. It has come across many such complaints and media reports where the patients even in emergency conditions were not provided necessary lifesaving treatment by the doctors, at various government run and private hospitals in Uttar Pradesh.

The Commission has already expressed its serious concern over the issue of reckless attitude of the doctors and medical staff towards patients in need during this period of crises when the country is fighting against the pandemic caused by the spread of Covid-19 virus.

The Commission on 08.06.2020, taking suo-motu cognizance of death of a pregnant lady due to alleged denial of treatment by many hospitals in Gautam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, had emphasized upon the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the government of Uttar Pradesh to issue suitable directions to all the hospitals to comply with the Standard Operating Procedure and not to deny medical treatment to any of the patients who are being brought to the hospital for medical treatment.

The Commission has once again reiterated that such unfortunate loss of human lives due to denial of medical treatment by the hospitals, is gross violation of right to life and basic medical care and the state, being duty bound to protect the lives of its citizens is responsible for such tragic deaths.

Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that a journalist was allegedly killed by sand mafias in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh on the 19th June, 2020. Reportedly, the victim Shubham Tripathy was working as a correspondent with a Hindi Daily, Kampu Mail. He had been reporting about illegal sand mining in the district and had apprehended threat to his life from them. Reportedly, his opponents had also lodged a complaint against him with the District Magistrate.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Government of Uttar Pradesh through its Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police calling for a detailed report in the matter. The State Government has also been directed to get an impartial enquiry into the matter by an independent agency, preferably the State CB CID and to ensure safety of the family of the victim and the witnesses in the matter. The call details and other forensic evidences gathered during inquiry to be preserved as the Commission might call them during consideration of the case. The response is expected, within 4 weeks.

The Commission has observed that the news report has mentioned that in many cases the media persons have been targeted by the anti-social elements and in most of the cases no action against the culprits has been taken by the police authorities.

In the democratic system of Government, the media is considered as its fourth pillar which cannot be allowed to be victimised by the anti social elements in such a cruel manner. It is the duty of the state to provide adequate safety and security to the media persons who in the public interest, keep taking great risks to highlight the illegal activities prevailing in the society. The death of Shubham Tripathy in this case is a matter of concern for the Commission and also an issue involving violation of human rights.


National Human Rights Commission

Press Release dt. 26-06-2020

Case BriefsCOVID 19Tribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission, India has issued notices to the Government of NCT of Delhi and Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry on a complaint making serious allegations about the difficulties being faced by the general public in Delhi, due to non-availability of beds in the hospitals for the Covid-19 patients and inadequate number of tests leading to a grim state of affairs and mismanagement, resulting in death of a large number of people.

Allegedly, there has been massive delay in conducting the last rites of those died during the pandemic period; tests on the bodies of the symptomatic deceased are also not being conducted violating the WHO and ICMR norms which can be extremely dangerous.

The Commission has observed that the complainant, Mr.Ajay Maken, Ex-President, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, has not come up with mere allegations, rather he has made apparent sincere efforts to provide data in support of his complaint, which if true, raise serious issue of inappropriate approach of the government agencies towards the plight of the general public amounting to a serious issue of violation of human rights. The data indicates that there is urgent need for taking effective steps immediately by the government agencies.

Issuing the notices, the Commission added that it would appreciate if both the Government of NCT of Delhi and Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry consider the matter in consultation with each other to ensure a comprehensive report within ten days. In the meantime, the government of NCT of Delhi is expected to increase the number of beds and tests per day, for the COVID patients.

The Commission has further observed that there have been many complaints coming to its notice from across the country relating to the difficulties being faced by the general public in getting timely medical treatment for COVID-19 illness and the national capital has been no exception. Suo-motu cognizance was also taken of such matters including one relating to death of a 32 year old Delhi Police constable, who lost to the deadly virus because he was not admitted in the hospital in time.

The Commission added that it also understands that this is an unprecedented situation for the government agencies, hospitals, doctors as well as patients and their families but the State cannot leave its citizens to die without making the best possible efforts. It is not incorrect to state that the number of Covid patients, in the country are increasing day by day and the recovery rate is above 48% but it is also true that a large number of people have died and the National capital is one of the worst affected cities so far.

According to the complaint, received by the Commission yesterday on 9th June, 2020, the COVID positive and its suspected patients are running from one hospital to another for admission, but the hospitals are turning them back. The chart provided by the complainant indicates that the NCT of Delhi has a robust hospital infrastructure of 57,194 beds. It has a significant presence of Central government Hospitals also but it is painful to see that only 12% of the Delhi Government, 8% of the Central Government institutions and 7% of the Private Hospital beds are presently occupied and are being used to treat COVID patients.

It is further stated that in Delhi around 70% dedicated beds are still lying vacant. While the residents of Delhi are struggling hard to fetch a bed in times of Corona crises, the Delhi government, despite confirming availability of beds is not providing the same to the patients who need them to save their lives. The complainant has insisted that at least 70% of Bed Capacity should be prepared and reserved for COVID patients.

The next issue raised in the complaint is that the Delhi Government has 38 Health Institutions or hospitals in Delhi and out of these hospitals, 33 are not accepting COVID patients. Only 5 hospitals have been designated as COVID Hospitals by the Delhi government and as a result, people of Delhi have to run from pillar to post in search of treatment for Covid-19.

The Complainant has also alleged that adequate number of tests are not being conducted by the Delhi government to detect the Covid 19 patients and the private labs which were earlier authorised to conduct the tests for the Covid patients, have been asked to stop conducting the tests.

It is alleged that as per latest bulletin a total 3700 have been conducted while the figure released on 29th May was 7649. The recovery rate of Delhi as mentioned in the complaint, is one of the lowest in India.

The Complainant has further stated that cremations are taking upto 5-6 days after death and relatives of the deceased have been found struggling to find slots. He has also stated that the government of NCT of Delhi is also violating the WHO and ICMR norms by not conducting tests on the bodies of the symptomatic deceased which can be extremely dangerous and may further strengthen the outspread of the deadly Coronavirus as ignoring symptomatic dead bodies means ignoring those who came in contact with such persons.

The complainant has referred to the recommendations made by Dr Mahesh Verma Committee, estimating a requirement of 42,000 beds by mid-July. It also stated that 20% of the beds in Delhi should be ventilator equipped. Hence, Delhi presently requires 1,700 ventilators, and by mid-July, around 10000 ventilators. As stated, there are only 472 ventilators dedicated for COVID patients in Delhi.

Hence in order to protect the lives of the residents of Delhi, there is extreme need to enhance the number of ventilators, immediately.

Praying for immediate intervention of the Commission in the matter to protect human lives in Delhi, the Complainant has also invited its attention towards another issue that the Delhi Government has tweaked and relaxed the definition of containment zones. On 29th April, when there were just 3439 COVID positive patients, Delhi had 102 containment zones. At a time when Delhi has around 30,000 positive cases, the containment zones are merely 183.

The complainant has expressed his concern that to open up areas affected with virus, is a dangerous practice as it will tremendously increase the outspread of the Corona virus, severely endangering human lives across the National Capital.


NHRC

Press Statement dt. 09-06-2020

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNewsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance media reports that the trains which are ferrying the migrant labourers are not only starting late but are taking many additional days to reach destination.

In one of the reports, it is alleged that many migrant labourers lost life during their journey by train due to longer duration and no arrangements for drinking water and food etc.

Reportedly, 2 persons died in Muzaffarpur and one each in Danapur, Sasaram, Gaya, Begusarai and Jehanabad in Bihar including a 4 year old boy. All of them have reportedly died due to hunger. In another incident, a train reportedly started from Surat district in Gujarat for Siwan in Bihar on 16.05.2020 and reached Bihar on 25.05.2020 i.e. after 9 days.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, amount to gross violations of human rights. The aggrieved families have suffered irrevocable loss. The state has failed to protect the lives of the poor labourers on board the trains.

Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Chief Secretaries of Gujarat and Bihar, Chairman, Railway Board and Union Home Secretary calling for a detailed report in the matter. The Chief Secretaries of the Government of Gujarat and Bihar are expected to specifically inform as to what steps were taken to ensure basic facilities including medical facilities for the migrant labourers who boarded the trains. The response from all the authorities is expected within 4 weeks, positively.

Issuing the notices, the Commission has observed that the Rail network in India is the largest in the world and well equipped with the modern technology, trained staff and other infrastructure. A train getting late due to bad weather etc. for some hours is always considered beyond control of the authorities but trains getting lost during journey, reaching unexpected destinations and taking more than a week to reach its scheduled station is hard to believe and require a thorough investigation into the matter.

It further observed that the poor labourers, who have already suffered a lot in a distant places and are desperate to reach their homes to meet family members. It is a matter of concern for it as they are being subjected to such a treatment by the Railway authorities, which borders around barbarism. The poor labourers cannot be treated in such an inhuman manner just because they are poor and the government has paid for their tickets. Any shortcoming on the part of the government agencies cannot be covered under excuse of unprecedented situation amid countrywide lockdown.

The Commission noted that a large number of people have fallen prey to Covid-19 virus in India and hundreds have lost life so far. The situation is unprecedented leaving the government agencies, scientists and the public at large totally clueless.

Nevertheless, it noted that the complaints are being received from different parts of the country regarding unnecessary harassment of people by the public authorities. It has emerged from the entire scenario that the people belonging to vulnerable classes have suffered the most. Daily wages workers, small shop owners, rickshaw pullers, cab operators and poor labourers have become the worst victims in the recent days. As the lockdown was announced, it was stated by the central government that wherever a person is staying he/she should stay there only so that the social distancing could be maintained and the spread of the virus could be contained up to maximum.

The Commission observed that it is evident that, due to whatsoever reasons, the migrant labourers started feeling uncomfortable and started protesting to reach their native places. It was mandatory on the part of the host state to take care of them and to provide them basic amenities but the things gradually went out of control and the labourers, in large numbers, started moving on their own by different modes of transport and thousands of them chose to walk on foot. Many labourers lost life during their journey on foot and suffered badly. After reviewing the situation, the central government announced that special trains will start from different parts of the country to take the migrant labourers to their native places.

The trains have started operating and the ticket charges are being borne by the central and the state governments but the sufferings of the poor labourers are not seemingly coming to an end. There have been several media reports stating that in many cases, the labourers are being called to board the train. They are brought to the railway stations in buses without maintaining social distancing. They are put to wait for hours without any arrangements of drinking water, food, shaded shelter and toilets for them. The female labourers, old aged persons, ill persons, small children and specially abled persons are reportedly suffering a lot. Many times the poor labourers have been told to go back as the trains got cancelled.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 28-05-2020]