Atrocities On Dalits / Member Of Minority Community /Disabled
  Year 1999-2000
Facilities for foreign nationals detained at Lampur Seva Sadan, Delhi (CASE NO:693/30/97-98)
Harassment of denotified and nomadic tribals belonging to the Pardhis community in Bighwan Village, Pune, Maharashtra (CASE NO:512/13/98-99)
Atrocities inflicted on a family in Maharashtra (CASE NO:1361/94-95/NHRC)
Death of workers in silicon factories of Madhya Pradesh (CASE NO:7894/96-97/NHRC)
Rehabilitation of physically handicapped, Madhya Pradesh (CASE NO:1528/96-97/NHRC)
Violation of human rights of members of Reang community of Mizoram (CASE NO:40/16/97-98)

Year 2000-2001
Atrocities on Dalit Women by Forest Officials, U.P.(CASE NO:2731/96-97/NHRC)
Seven Boys from Balmiki Community paraded naked by police, Haryana (CASE NO:393/7/1999-2000)

Year 2001-2002
Killing of 7 Dalits by Upper Castes, Karnataka (CASE NO:628/10/1999-2000)

Year 2002-2003
Atrocities on Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes – killing of five Dalits: Haryana (Cases No.1485/7/2002-2003)
Suicides of farmers: Andhra Pradesh (Case No.444/1/2001-2002/FC)

Year 2003-2004
Death of Officiating Headmaster of Government School, Rajasmand: Rajasthan (Case No.1727/20/2001-2002)
Rehabilitation of Leprosy Patients Camping in Amarjyoti Leprosy Rehabilitation Society: Haryana (Case No.2135/7/2002-2003)
Provision of Seats in All Medical Courses for Physically Handicapped Candidates: Delhi (Case No.1023/30/2002-2003)

Year 2004-2005
Atrocities on Adivasi families by forest officials of Wayanad District : Kerala - Case No. 199/11/2002-2003(FC)
Merciless beating of Smt. Susheela Devi by landlord and his accomplice, West Champaran District. Bihar - Case No. 1852/4/2002-2003(WC)/FC

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Year 1999-2000

Facilities for Foreign Nationals detained at Lamapur Seva Sadan : Delhi ( Case No.693/30/97-98)

While considering the petition concerning the possible deportation of Shri Rongthong Kuenley Dorji, it came to the notice of the Commission that he had been detained at Lampur Seva Sadan, an institution for rehabilitation of beggars, administered by the Social Welfare Department of Government of NCT of Delhi. On 24 May 1999, the Commission directed the Director General (Investigation) [DG(I)] of the Commission to visit Lampur Seva Sadan to make an assessment of the conditions prevailing therein. After his visit to Lampur Seva Sadan, DG(I) submitted his report in which he stated that the foreigners were confined to a few barracks in one segregated corner of the campus, with a compound wall and a gate. Security was being provided by a section of the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary.

After considering the report, the Commission recommended that separate enclosures be created for foreign nationals and that the Government of NCT of Delhi undertake immediate repairs and to take the following steps to improve the arrangements:

(i) Replace the asbestos sheets roofing with roofing made up of some other material that would not be harmful to inmates.

(ii) Post adequate number of conservancy staff immediately for the cleanliness of the area and for the maintenance of the toilets/bathrooms.

(iii) Make separate cooking arrangements for the foreigners instead of supplying them food from the beggars home as that might hurt their sentiments and sense of dignity.

(iv) Consider provision of separate STD/ISD booths for use of the foreign detenues.

(v) Establish MI Room where a doctor and the para-medical staff are available round the clock for medical cover.

(vi) Issue proper instructions to ensure regular visits by senior officers to this detention centre.

The Commission also directed the Principal Home Secretary, Secretary and Director, Social Welfare Department and the FRRO of the Delhi Administration to visit the Lampur Seva Sadan and work out a proper strategy for bringing about ameliorative changes not only for the foreign detenues but also for the institutions for beggars located in the campus. The Commission has received a compliance report.


Harassment of denotified and nomadic tribals belong to Pardhis community in Bighwan village, Pune, Maharashtra Case No.512/13/98-99

Shri G.N. Devy, Secretary, Denotified & Nomadic Tribals Rights Action Group, Baroda, Gujarat submitted a complaint to the Commission alleging atrocities on the Pardhis community, a denotified community of tribals living in the backwaters on the banks of the Ujni Dam, Bigwan village, Taluk Indiapur, Pune, Maharashtra by persons in plain clothes serving in the Railway Police on 12 July 1998. It was further alleged that their houses, fishing nets, boats and other materials were burnt. The police had also beaten up the women of the community, including pregnant women and had attempted rape on two teenaged girls.

On consideration of the reports of the Investigation Team of the Commission and the Superintendent of Police, Railways, Pune the Commission found that the police report, sent by the S.P. Railways, Pune also corroborated the report of the Commission’s Investigation Team which conclusively established that the Police Anti-Dacoity Team had tortured four innocent women and molested two young women in their zeal to nab male Pardhis who were alleged to have been involved in committing crimes of theft, dacoity, etc. The evidence also established that several huts belonging to the tribals and their fishing nets were destroyed. The Investigation Team had estimated damage amounting to Rs.10,000/- in respect of each family. In addition, innocent women suffered trauma and torture. The highhandedness and misconduct of the police officials was unbecoming of their profession. Two young women, one of them a teenager, were molested by the police. The evidence on record indicated that, in their zeal to nab certain criminals alleged of belonging to the denotified Pardhi tribe, the police had behaved in a shocking and brutal manner.

In view of the facts and circumstances, the Commission recommended: of the four women victims, namely, Smt. Shalan Pratap Kale, Smt. Manda Latif, Kum. Jyoti and Smt. Alka Chandrasal Kale, the first three be paid Rs.1 lakh each and Smt. Alka Chandrasal Kale, Rs.1,50,000/- as immediate interim relief; a sum of Rs.10,000/- may be paid to each of the families of the Pardhis who were staying on the bank of Ujni Dam, near the backwaters, whose huts, utensils and fishing nets were destroyed, as compensation by way of ‘immediate interim relief’; in case a charge-sheet had not yet been filed in the court against the erring police personnel, the case may be entrusted to the State CID and a charge-sheet be filed thereafter against all the culprits in the appropriate court; (d) disciplinary action may be initiated against the erring police personnel. The State Government has sent a compliance report with regard to the payment of compensation

Atrocities inflicted on a family Maharashtra Case No.1361/94-95/NHRC

Shri A.R. Antulay, Member of Parliament (MP) filed a petition dated 12 September 1994 before the Commission highlighting the case of the Haspatel family of village Walwati, Shrivardhan Taluk, Raigad District, Maharashtra, who were allegedly subjected to serious atrocities by the police during the communal riots that took place in Maharashtra in December 1992 - January 1993. The complainant stated that the act of the police against an innocent family had the distinct tinge of communal bias.

On consideration of the matter, the Commission noted from the report of the State Government that departmental action had been ordered against the police officials involved in the matter. The Commission accordingly recommended that, keeping in view the nature of findings in the departmental proceedings, appropriate prosecution should be launched in respect of all or such of the persons who were found responsible for the conduct which had been indicted in the Government order.

The matter was again considered again by the Commission on 17 January 2000. The Commission observed that from the conclusions reached and the findings recorded by the State CID, it was evident that Shri Iqbal Ismail Haspatel, his wife, three sons and a daughter-in-law, i.e. in all six members of that family, were not only humiliated and harassed but also unlawfully tortured. Some of them were subjected to illegal arrest. All of these persons were subjected to several indignities wholly inconsistent with norms of decency. It was also noted that allegations had been made to the effect that valuable property estimated at Rs.1.87 lakh, owned by the victims of the incident, had also been taken away or destroyed by the police officials; this required further verification. The Commission directed the Government of Maharashtra to pay an amount of Rs.5 lakhs as compensation by way of ‘immediate interim relief’ to Shri Ismail and his family members. The Government of Maharashtra has complied with the Commission’s recommendations on the payment of compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs to the victims.


Death of workers in silicon factories of Madhya Pradesh Case No.7894/96-97/NHRC

A news-item appeared in the "Sunday Observer" in September 1996 captioned "Death in the Air". The Commission took suo motu cognizance of the news item and called for a report from the Government of Madhya Pradesh. The report indicated that there were 134 slate factories which were set up in Mandsaur District of Madhya Pradesh. The health of the majority of the workers employed in these factories was affected due to inhalation of silicon dust. The Government had taken steps to provide medical facilities and ensure that all these workers were covered under the Employees State Insurance (ESI) scheme. There was a mobile van in operation to provide medical facilities to the workers. They were even provided with pensions on the declaration that the worker was affected by the disease, which was an occupational hazard. The district administration had advised owners of these factories to instal BHEL machinery to minimise dust particles. However, many of the owners of these factories were unable to meet the cost of the sophisticated machinery, this resulted in the spread of silicosis dust and affected the workers’ health. The Labour Inspectors were visiting the factories and prosecuting those who were not applying the minimum standards laid down for prevention of this pollution.

Having regard to the provisions of the Indian Constitution as well as to the International Human Rights instruments with regard to the right to life. the Commission gave the following directions to the State for compliance in future:-

1. To ensure the establishing of BHEL machinery in the factories to prevent dust pollution and to ensure that pollution free air is provided to workers.

2. Periodic inspection, on a monthly basis, by the Labour Department and reports made to the State Human Rights Commission for monitoring.

3. Widows and children of deceased workers to be taken care of by the factory owner by providing assistance.

4. To ensure that child labour is prevented by the following methods:

(a) Establishing schools at the cost of factory owners, with assistance from the State for the education of workers’ children.

(b) The provision of periodic payments for their education and insurance coverage at the cost of factory owners.

(c) The position of mid-day meals and clothing to dependent children or children of deceased workers.

COMMENT

In examining this matter, the Commission observed that the Right to Health and Medical Care is a fundamental right under Article 21, read with Articles 39(e), 41 and 43 of the Constitution. The Right to Life includes protection of the health and strength of workers and is a minimum requirement to enable a person to live with human dignity. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as other International Instruments also speak of this right. Continuous exposure to the corroding effect of silicon dust can result in the silent killing of those who work in such an environment. The duty of the State, under the Directive Principles of the Constitution, is to ensure the protection of the health of workers employed in such Slate factories in Mandsaur and elsewhere in the State.


Rehebilitation of physically handicapped : Madhya Pradesh Case No.1528/96-97/NHRC

Shri Bihari Lal Thevait, a resident of District Bilaspur, Madhya Pradesh sent a petition to the Commission wherein he said that he was a 26-year old man whose lower limbs had not been affected by polio. He also suffered from a cardiac problem. He had approached the District Collector for assistance and employment. Although the District Collector arranged for his operation at a private hospital, free of cost, the operation was not successful and even after four to five years he was not cured. He alleged that the operation was suggested instead of providing him with a tricycle. The then District Collector also provided him with assistance at the rate of Rs.2,000/- per month and this continued until such time as that Collector was in office. The Collector also passed an order for his appointment as an Assistant Teacher. However, this did not materialise. He, therefore, sought compensation of Rupees Fifty lakhs for violation of his fundamental rights, treatment of his heart ailment, management of his disability and employment as an Assistant Teacher.

Though the Commission does not normally take action on petitions which relate essential to service matters, the Commission in this case issued a notice to the Collector and called for a report as the petitioner was a disabled person. The Collector responded saying that the complainant was affected by polio when he was one-and-a-half years old and that both his feet were deformed. The opinion of Orthopaedic Doctors was sought, and they had certified that the complainant would have to move on hands and knees, in a crawling position, unless he was operated upon. Accordingly, he was operated upon in 1988 and his limb deformity was corrected to a large extent. In five months time, he was fitted with calipers and a walking frame to help him stand erect. The Collector also stated that the complainant was entitled to be considered for a job under the quota for persons with disabilities. According to the Collector, the complainant had tried to obtain a certificate of complete recovery to enable him to get the job of an Assistant Teacher. He was advised to obtain a disability certificate from the competent authority. The petitioner apparently made the complaint as he was aggrieved by this advice. The report of the Collector was sent to the complainant for his comments. However, the petitioner stood by his complaint and stated that the operation, which was performed, was not successful and his defect was not cured even after four years. The complainant claimed Rupees Twenty lakhs as compensation for mental and physical torture he had undergone and Rupees Thirty lakhs for protection of his rights and for his living.

The Commission considered the matter carefully and expressed appreciation of the action taken by the District Collector. The question whether the condition of the petitioner worsened after the operation, as claimed by him, was not probed further. However, the Commission felt that the State Government, in a Welfare State, should help alleviate the suffering of such disabled persons. Accordingly, the following recommendations were made by the Commission to the State of Madhya Pradesh:

(a) To grant ex-gratia monetary relief to the tune of Rupees One lakh to the petitioner, either from the fund established by the State Government for the welfare of the handicapped persons, or from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

(b) To offer a job to the petitioner commensurate with his academic qualifications and physical ability, in accordance with the provisions of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, or on compassionate grounds.

The State Government has intimated the Commission that it has paid a sum of Rs. 1 lakh as compensation to the petitioner


Violation of human Rights of Members of Reang Community of Mizoram Case No.40/16/97-98

The President, Akhil Bharatiya Vanwasi Kalyan Samiti and seven other such like-minded persons submitted petitions to the Commission wherein they alleged that since September-October 1997, the Reang community members had been living in an atmosphere of terror created by the Mizos, with the tacit support of the local administration and police. As a result of this, over 30,000 Reangs left Mizoram for Tripura. There were apparently several incidents of killing, rape, abduction and burning of houses by the Mizos. The condition in the refugee camps established by the Government of Tripura was also not satisfactory. The petitioners requested intervention by the Commission.

The Commission called for reports from Governments of Mizoram, Tripura and Assam. The Government of Tripura in their report stated that although the influx of Reangs started with about 10,000 people in October 1997, the number had gone up to 30,000. The Government of Tripura was finding it difficult to bear the burden though they were financially helped by the Government of India. They mentioned that efforts made to persuade the refugees to return to Mizoram had failed.

The Government of Assam in their reply stated that some families had gone into the Karimganj and Balkandi districts of Assam and were living there in forest villages, earning their living by labour on daily wage basis. No refugee camps had been set up. However, medical aid was being provided.

The Government of Mizoram in their reply stated that the administration was making efforts to take action against the local Mizos who had indulged in burning of houses of some Reang families. It was the demand of the Group National Union of the Reangs for an autonomous district council and the murder of a Mizo forest guard by suspected Bru-Reangs militants, which led to violence between the two communities. Some arrests had been made in this regard. The refugees had been requested by the Home Minister of Mizoram to return and they were also given Rs.2,000/- for reconstruction of their houses and a week’s ration. However, some of the Reangs received the amount and again went back to the refugee camp in Tripura. The Ministry of Home Affairs also confirmed this position and stated that the matter was being closely monitored.

Shri Sudarshan Agarwal, Member, NHRC and Shri R.C. Jain, Registrar General visited the spot to make an assessment of the situation. The Special Rapporteur Shri Chaman Lal was also deputed to meet the Reang refugees and make a report on their problems. According to his report there were certain inadequacies in the arrangements made at the refugee camps. The Special Rapporteur made certain recommendations to improve the situation. Shri Agarwal, Member, NHRC held a meeting with Chief Secretary, Tripura and other concerned officers who were requested to implement the recommendations of Shri Chaman Lal on a time bound basis. The Member, NHRC also held separate meetings with the petitioners who emphasised the urgency for settlement of the issue since they had serious apprehensions about their security in Mizoram. The Member, NHRC subsequently held meetings with Chief Secretaries of three States and the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It was made clear to the Government of Mizoram that there is a specific provision in the Mizoram Accord regarding the protection of rights and privileges of minorities of their economic and social development by the Government of Mizoram. The Ministry of Home Affairs assured Government of Mizoram that para-military forces in adequate strength would be provided to the Government for ensuring safety and security of the repatriated families. The Government of Mizoram was reminded of their constitutional obligations to take back the refugees and ensure their peaceful settlement in the villages.

The Commission, taking into consideration the reports from Member, NHRC and Special Rapporteur made the following recommendations:

(i) The Reangs are lawful inhabitants of Mizoram and the Government of Mizoram should not only take them back in accordance with the agreement made in November 1997, but should also instill in them a sense of confidence and security.

(ii) The Government of India should play an active role to arrange repatriation of the Reangs to Mizoram and should also give special attention to the safety and security of the Reangs on their return to Mizoram.

(iii) The Ministry of Home Affairs and the State Governments of Mizoram and Tripura shall keep the Commission informed of the progress made at regular intervals.

The Commission has received reports from the Governments of Tripura, Mizoram and the Government of India with regard to the action taken on its recommendations.


Year 2000-01

Atrocities on Dalit Women by Forest Officials: Uttar Pradesh (Case No. 2731/96-97/NHRC)

The Commission took suo-motu cognizance of a news item entitled "Girls paraded naked by the Daroga" on the basis of a report in a newspaper on 21 June 1996 and called for a report from the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh.

In his report, the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh mentioned that a case No.49/96 under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 had been registered against the concerned Forest Officer and four Forest Guards. Upon preliminary investigation, the charges had been proved against all the five accused persons and the State Government had been requested to sanction the prosecution of these persons.

Upon considering the above report, the Commission directed the State Government to grant sanction for the prosecution of the errant officials expeditiously.

In response, Shri Bhagwan Shankar, Special Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh informed the Commission that a chargesheet dated 16 July 1998 had been filed in court by the Investigation Officer, Naraini, District Banda. The report of the Superintendent of Police, Banda indicated that the concerned Forest Officer had taken two ladies into his custody. He had later apprehended two more women. The four women were disrobed and later beaten by the Forest Sub Inspector. They were released only after they had agreed to pay a sum of Rs.1000 and give honey to the Forest Department officials. The Commission noted that the involvement of the officials had been proved during investigation and that a chargesheet had been filed. In view of the fact that dignity of the four women had been violated by the Forest Sub Inspector and five officials, the Commission held that the State was vicariously liable for the payment of compensation. Accordingly, the Commission recommended the payment of a sum of Rs.50,000 as interim compensation to each of the four women. The Director General (Investigation) of the Commission was asked to monitor the trial of the case closely.

The Commission has since been informed, however, that the errant officials have filed a case in the High Court of Allahabad, where the matter is now pending.

In this case, the Commission by its order dated 2nd June 2000 had recommended the payment of Rs.50,000/- as interim compensation to each of 4 women.

The State Government has stated that immediate interim relief of Rs.2 lakhs @ Rs.50,000/- for each of the 4 women has been sanctioned. However, payment had been made to only two of the women. The other two women were yet to be identified and they had not yet come forward to make a claim. The State Government has assured the Commission that, as and when the remaining two women come forward or are identified, the payment would be made to them on the basis of sanction already issued.

Upon being satisfied with the response of the State Government, the Commission closed the case on 2nd July 2001.


Seven Boys from Balmiki Community Paraded Naked by Police: Haryana (Case No:393/7/1999-2000)

In a complaint to the Commission, one B. Jit Singh stated that on 2 June 1999, an Assistant Sub Inspector and two Constables from the Police Post Khandsa Road, Gurgaon, Haryana had picked up seven boys aged between 7 and 12 years, taken them to the Police Post, stripped them naked and paraded them on the streets. They were also forced to clear garbage from nearby areas. The parents of the children were also insulted. The only fault of boys, it was stated, was that they were playing cricket in their locality and that their ball had landed in the premises of the Assistant Sub Inspector.

Pursuant to the Commission’s directions, two reports were received from the Superintendent of Police, Gurgaon. In view of the inherent anomalies and contradictions in these reports, the Commission, however, directed its own Investigation Division to inquire into the matter and submit a report.

After a thorough investigation, the Commission’s team reported that seven children belonging to Balmiki Community were humiliated, stripped naked, and paraded in the locality and also beaten up by police personnel. In its proceedings dated 2 May 2000, the Commission accordingly held that the concerned police personnel had abused their power. Apart from exhibiting depraved conduct, the Commission held that the behaviour of the concerned police personnel constituted a gross violation of the rights of the children involved. The Commission therefore directed the Superintendent of Police, Gurgaon to file charge sheets against the three errant police personnel under the appropriate provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act , 1989, to pursue the case diligently and also initiate disciplinary action. In addition, the Commission recommended the payment of a sum of Rs. 20,000 as compensation to each of the seven boys. The Commission also observed that the State Government was at liberty to recover this amount from the salaries of the concerned police personnel.

The State Government has subsequently reported to the Commission that it has paid the compensation to the children and was complying with its recommendations.

In this case, the Commission in its proceedings dated 2 May 2000 came to the conclusion that seven children, belonging to the Balmiki community, were humilitated, stripped naked, and paraded in the locality and also beaten up by the police personnel of Gurgaon, Haryana. It held that the concerned police personnel had abused their power and, accordingly directed the Supdt. of Police, Gurgaon to file charge-sheets against them under the appropriate provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, to pursue the case diligently and also intitiiate disciplinary action against delinquent police personnel. In addition, the Commission recommended the payment of a sum of Rs.20,000/- as compensation to each of the seven boys. It also observed that the State Government was at liberty to recover this amount from the salaries of the concerned police personne.

The State Governmennt has, through its letter dated 23 October 2000, reported to the Commission that it has paid the compensation to the children as directed, and that disciplinary proceedings/prosecution had been initiated against the delinquent public servants.


Attacks on Members of the Christian Community in Several States (Case Nos.289/6/1999-2000; 351/6/1999-2000; 295/6/1999-2000; 481/6/1999-2000; 1873/4/1999-2000;1933/4/1999-2000)

Previous reports of the Commission have indicated in detail the steps taken by the Commission to protect the rights of members of the Christian community in the aftermath of the killing of the Australian priest, Mr. Graham Stewart Staines and his two sons in Orissa, as well as attacks on members of the community in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. During the year under review, the Commission continued to pay the closest attention to instances when atrocities were reported to have been committed against Christians. At the time of the writing of this report, the Commission had intervened, often by invoking its suo-motu jurisdiction, in twenty incidents in which persons professing the Christian faith had been mistreated, assaulted or even killed in different parts of the country.

In each instance, the Commission called for reports from the highest echelons of the concerned State Governments and pursued matters thereafter. A number of incidents related to Uttar Pradesh. But the intervention of the Commission was also required in respect of incidents that occurred in Indore, Madhya Pradesh; in various locations of Gujarat; in Rewari, Haryana and in Nashik, Maharashtra. Further, the Commission intervened following the killing of a Christian priest, Ashish Prabhash, in Batala, Punjab and the bomb blasts that rocked Churches in the States of Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

In addition to issuing directives as required in these cases, the Commission also received and considered a number of petitions, both from organizations and individuals complaining that such incidents disclosed a pattern of violence against Christians and their institutions, particularly in some States, which created a reasonable apprehension in the minds of Christians throughout the country of victimization and the violation of their human rights. The Commission took careful note of similar apprehensions that were voiced in editorials, articles and news items in the media and the general feeling that they conveyed that there was need to better protect the human rights of the Christian community and the safety of their institutions, as also to ensure that such acts of violence were prevented from occurring in the future. The Commission observed that such apprehensions were of serious concern, that they were shared by many in the country, and that they must be addressed by all the authorities. For this reason, the Commission considered it essential to make an in-depth scrutiny of the situation, not merely by inquiring into the violation of human rights of the section of people involved in the specific incidents on which suo-motu cognizance had already been taken, but also by exploring the avenues necessary for the prevention of any such violations in future, and ensuring that there was no neglect on the part of the public authorities concerned in the performance of their duties.

The Commission therefore issued notice on 21 June 2000 to the Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories as well as to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, calling for reports on the measures already taken in this behalf and the plans of action drawn up by them to meet the situation. Urging all of them to accord top priority to this matter, the Commission pointed out that it was necessary to preserve "the secular credentials of the nation and to fulfill the promise of fraternity and common brotherhood" envisaged in the Constitution. The Commission’s decision was based on the need to take a holistic view of the situation as well as to inspire the requisite confidence amongst persons of the Christian community. In response to the notice issued by the Commission, reports were received from all the concerned authorities, who sought to answer in full the concerns raised by the Commission.

On 18 October 2000, the Commission directed the issue of fresh notices to all State Governments inviting their attention specifically to letter No. 9/42/96-CHC dated 22 October 1997 of the then Union Home Minister, Shri Indrajit Gupta, with an annexure thereto addressed to all Chief Ministers of States/Union Territory Administrations and D.O. letters No. 14013/35/98-US (D.V) dated 2 January 1999 and No. 5/98-NIMC dated 28 January 1999 of the then Union Home Secretary, Shri B.P. Singh to the Chief Secretaries/Administrators of all the States/Union Territories. The State Governments were requested to indicate the follow-up action, if any, taken by them to comply with the directions contained in the above-mentioned letters of the Union Home Minister and the Union Home Secretary. The Home Minister had enclosed with his letter the revised "Guidelines To Promote Communal Harmony" with a request to the States to take urgent action in accordance with those Guidelines.

Based on an analysis of all the responses received, the Commission is taking steps to call a meeting of the senior officers of the States principally concerned to discuss and monitor all aspects of this matter. It is important, in this report, to recount illustratively the specific action that the Commission took following the murder of Brother George, during the night of 6-7 June 2000, in St. Francis Public School, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, in respect of which crime a case was registered under section 396 IPC. On 11 June 2000, the cook of Brother George, Vijay Ekka was picked up by the police for interrogation. He remained in police custody but was found dead on 17 June 2000. On 19 June 2000, in response to a press report entitled "Cleric’s cook dies in police custody", the Commission issued notice to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh calling for a report within one week. The Commission also directed the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh to have a video recording made of the post-mortem examination conducted in this case. Pursuant to the Commission’s orders, a team from its Investigation Division also conducted an on-the-spot inquiry into this incident and submitted a report to the Commission.

On 26 September 2000, the Commission asked the Government of Uttar Pradesh, through its Chief Secretary, to show-cause, if any, why an amount of Rs. 2.00 lakhs be not granted as `immediate interim relief’ to the next of kin of Vijay Kumar Ekka. As there was no response from the Government of Uttar Pradesh, the Commission on 20 November 2000 recommended that an amount of Rs. 2 lakhs be granted as immediate interim relief under section 18(3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 to the next kin of Vijay Ekka.

The Commission continues to keep a close watch on all incidents and reports expressing an apprehension regarding the violation of rights of members of the Christian community. The situation in this respect is under the constant monitoring of the Commission.


Year 2001-02

Killing of 7 Dalits by Upper Castes: Karnataka (Case No.628/10/99-2000)

The Commission received complaints from a number of organisations concerning the killing of 7 Dalits in Karnataka on 11 March 2000 by persons belonging to the upper castes. They requested a probe by the Commission and called for the granting of compensation to the victims.

The Commission took cognisance of the matter and, in response to a notice, received a report from DGP Karnataka. The report stated that there was a clash between two groups. To escape from the fury of the clash, the members of one group, who were Dalits, entered the house of a relative and bolted the door from inside. The accused persons bolted the door from outside and set the house ablaze. In this criminal act, 6 persons were burnt alive and another person, who was in a neighbouring house, also sustained severe burns and died while being taken to the hospital. A case had been registered against the accused. Inquiry into the incident indicated that a police Sub Inspector (PSI) had failed to take precautionary measures and to arrange appropriate 'bandobust' to avoid untoward incidents. The PSI had exhibited gross negligence and dereliction in the discharge of his duties. He had been placed under suspension and a departmental enquiry had been intitiated against him.

The Commission, in its proceedings dated 19 December 2000 held that the failure of the Government of Karnataka to protect Dalits was, in this instance, beyond doubt. It therefore issued a show cause notice to that Government asking as to why immediate interim relief u/s 18 (3) of the Act be not awarded to the next-of-kin of the deceased.

A further report was then received from the State Government. It stated suitable 'bandobast' had been arranged in the village; that an amount of Rs.1.5 lakh had been paid to the next-of-kin of each of the deceased as compensation, and that disciplinary proceedings had been instituted against the delinquent public servant. The Commission took note of the action taken and closed the case on 30 June 2001.e for any inadvertent error that may have crept in the Information being published on NET.

 

Year 2002-2003

Atrocities on Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes – killing of five Dalits: Haryana (Cases No.1485/7/2002-2003)

The Commission took suo motu cognizance of a newspaper report entitled “five dalits lynched in Haryana” published in The Indian Express of 17 October 2002. The report stated that five dalits, all in their twenties, were beaten to death on 15 October 2002 in Jhajjar District, Haryana and that two of them had been torched. The victims were reported to have been dragged by a mob out of a police post where they had taken refuge and lynched in the presence of the City Magistrate, the Deputy Superintendent of Police of Jhajjar and Bahadurgarh, the Block Development Officer and at least 50 Policemen.
Upon notice being issued to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Haryana, a report dated 23 October 2002 was received from the Director General of police, Haryana. It stated that, on 15 October 2002, five persons named Virender, Tota Ram, Raju, Daya Chand and Kailash were goingto Gurgaon carrying animal hides and a cow in a vehicle. They stopped near Dulina and started removing the skin of the cow on the road side. About 40-50 persons who had gathered there, however, thinking that the cow was being slaughtered by the five persons, gave them a severe beating. The five persons were taken to the Police Post Dulina and a case were registered. In the meantime, the mob, which had grown in size to about 400-500, became extremely violent and threw brickbats and stones at the police personnel who were present, injuring many of them. The mob, in its frenzy, also lynched the five persons who had been seen with the cow. The report added that a case had been registered at the Jhajjar Police Station in this regard and that a special investigation team had been constituted for to conduct the investigation. Further, the Government of Haryana appointed Shri R.R.Banswal, IAS Commissioner, Rohtak to conduct an inquiry into the whole incident. The Haryana Government had also announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs.1,00,000 to each of the families of the deceased persons. A similar report was also submitted by the Chief Secretary, Government of Haryana.
In proceedings held on 13 January 2003, the Commission considered a report dated 5 December 2002 that had been submitted by the Commissioner, Rohtak. It stated, inter alia:
“At the initial stage, when the mob of 50-60 had gathered and the situation was peaceful, the police had sufficient time to shift the five persons who were badly beaten by the public to a safer place or to a hospital providing medical aid ……

The Police personnel posted at the police post did not assess the sensitivity of the situation and dealt with the matter in a causal manner ……
They did not take stern action against the violent mob and only kept on pacifying and pushing the mob. They also did not inform the district heads i.e. Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police, Jhajjar …….

The Duty Magistrates also did not act properly in discharge of their duties”.
The Commissioner, Rohtak observed that the mob had committed a ghastly act, crossing all limits of humanity, in lynching the five persons. He added that the police personnel had failed to save the precious lives of the five innocent persons from the hands of the cruel mob. In its proceedings dated 31 March 2003, the Commission noted that upon its intervention, the Government of Haryana had paid compensation of Rs. 500,000 to the family of each of the deceased persons and, further provided employment to the dependents of those five persons. The State Government had also decided to take disciplinary action against all the errant officers. In noting these actions, the Commission called for information from the Government of Haryana on the outcome/current status of the disciplinary proceedings, as well as details in respect of the dependents who had been provided employment by the State.

Suicides of farmers: Andhra Pradesh (Case No.444/1/2001-2002/FC)

Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, Leader of Opposition, Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, submitted a petition in September 2001 alleging that about 117 farmers had committed suicide in the year 2000 and about 160 persons had committed suicide during the period January-September, 2001. The total number of suicides during the last 5-6 years was stated to be about 2000 accordingly to newspaper reports. Subsequently, the Commission received a further complaint, on the same matter, from Shri M.Shyam Prasad.
In response to a notice issued by the Commission, the State Government of Andhra Pradesh submitted a report listing the various short and long term measures undertaken by the Government to deal with situations, including the payment of ex-gratia relief to the affected families, sanction of houses under the Indira Awas Jojana Scheme, admission of children into residential schools, pensions to old-age persons, economic support schemes under waiver of debt for two years and the sanction of fresh loans and reduction in rates of interest.
The Commission considered the above report and, thereafter, obtained the comments of the petitioner on it. It then referred the matter to Shri K.R.Venugopal, Special Rapporteur of the Commission for his comments. In his detailed report, Shri Venugopal made a number of far-reaching suggestions relating, inter alia, to the regularization of the private trade in seeds and pesticides and in respect of fertilizer-pricing.
The Commission subsequently directed that the gist of the suggestions made by Shri Venugopal be transmitted to the Government of Andhra Pradesh for its consideration and response.
The views of the Government of Andhra Pradesh are awaited and the matter remains before the Commission.
 

Year 2003-2004

Death of Officiating Headmaster of Government School, Rajasmand: Rajasthan (Case No.1727/20/2001-2002)

The Commission received a complaint from P.L.Mimroth, General Secretary, Society of Depressed People for Social Justice alleging that one Mohan Lal Regar, a Scheduled Caste, Officiating Headmaster of Government Secondary School, Kalesaria, Rajasmand was forced to commit suicide due to harassment, humiliation by caste name and beating by the school staff and teachers. The victim allegedly had complained to the local authorities against harassment to him, but no action was taken.
Pursuant to Commission’s directions, Inspector General of Police (Human Rights), CB CID, Crime Branch, Rajasthan sent in a report stating that the victim had made an attempt to commit suicide on 18 August 2001 in village Anjana by hanging from a ceiling fan. Eventually, he was brought to Devgarh Hospital, where unfortunately he died. The three accused persons Leeladhar, Assistant Teacher, Natwar Lal, Junior Clerk and Manoj Kumar, P.T.I. were arrested and a Challan too was submitted against them in the court. The case was pending in the court of District and Sessions Judge, Rajasmand, Rajasthan.
On consideration of the aforesaid report, the Commission vide its proceedings dated 29 January 2003 directed the issue notice to the Chief Secretary and Director General of police, Government of Rajasthan asking them to inform whether any relief had been granted to the next of kin of the victim under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 read with Rules, 195 for the insult, humiliation and intimidation suffered by the victim as well as action taken by regard to the complaint which had been lodged by the deceased with the Education Department about the harassment meted out to him. In response the Superintendent of Police, CB CID, Rajasthan sent a report stating that a charge sheet had already been filed against the accused persons in the court and the matter was currently sub-judice. The report further stated that the employees had already been placed under suspension. The report also revealed that the wife of the deceased had since been appointed as Class IV employee in the Education Department and that all the admissible benefits under the Department Rules had been given to her by the Education Department of the State Government. Further report received from Home (Human Rights) Department, Government of Rajasthan revealed that Rs.25,000/- as financial assistance to the next of kin of the deceased under Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1995 had been paid to the wife of the deceased Mohan Lal. On further consideration of the aforesaid reports and Commission noted the overall developments with satisfaction that had taken place in the matter and decided to close the case.
 

Rehabilitation of Leprosy Patients Camping in Amarjyoti Leprosy Rehabilitation Society: Haryana (Case No.2135/7/2002-2003)

J.J.Bonney, Executive Secretary, Maximising Employment to Serve the Handicapped, Uday Park, New Delhi in a Complaint had drawn the attention of the Commission to the plight of about 63 people, affected by leprosy who were camping in Amarjyoti Leprosy Rehabilitation Society and were being evicted from there without being provided with any alternative site for rehabilitation.
Upon considering the matter, the Commission felt that the plight of the leprosy affected individuals appeared to be a human problem and direct the copies of the reports received from Chairperson, Haryana Urban Development Authority, Haryana and Deputy Magistrate, Jhajjar be forwarded to the Chief Secretary, Government of Haryana so that the matter could be examined and whether afresh the sufferings of those people could, in any way, be mitigated by providing them with some rehabilitation area since they were sought to be dispossessed from Amar Jyoti Leprosy Rehabilitation Colony at Bahadurgarh.
In a report sent to the Commission, the Home Department of Government of Haryana stated that since the inhabitants of the above colony were encroachers on the acquired HUDA land, it would not be possible to rehabilitate them. The report further said that the jhuggi jhopri colony dwellers had filed a civil writ petition (No.11637) in 1996 in this regard wherein the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered for allotment of EWS plots to the jhuggi jhopri colonies existing on the acquired land of HUDA and that the HUDA had challenged the order of the High Court in the Supreme Court through an SLP. The report also stated that the State Government had taken a decision that the residents of Amar Jyoti Leprosy Society will not be disturbed till the decision of the Supreme Court in civil appeals.
The Commission on consideration of the report received from the Under Secretary (Home), Government of Haryana closed the case, as no further action was called for on its part.
 

Provision of Seats in All Medical Courses for Physically Handicapped Candidates: Delhi (Case No.1023/30/2002-2003)

The Commission received a complaint dated 21 June 2002 Desh Raj, an orthopaedically challenged person with more than 50% disability of lower limbs residing in Mandawali-Fazalpur, Delhi stating that he had appeared in the Medical entrance examination 2002 conducted by the University of Delhi. He had alleged that there was no provision of reservation for candidates who were physically handicapped and that the result of entrance examination for admission in MBBS/BDS Course 2002 announced by the University also did not display any separate merit list of candidates who were handicapped.
In response, the Deputy Registrar (Medical), University of Delhi, vide his letter dated 23 July 2002 stated that there was no provision for reservation of seats for physically handicapped candidates in MBBS/BDS courses in University of Delhi. Moreover, the Medical Council of India had held that Section 39 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, which refers to reservation of posts, falls under the Chapter of “Employment” and as such did not apply to reservation of seats in educational institutions.
On considering the report, the Commission observed that the view taken by the Dy. Registrar (Medical), University of Delhi was erroneous. It appeared that the law laid down by the Supreme Court of India, which is the law of land, in various judgements had been overlooked. As directed by the Commission a copy of the judgement of the Supreme Court in Civil Appeal No.7892 of 2001 dealing with the subject was forwarded to the Registrar, Delhi University to re-examine the matter in the light of those decisions.
Pursuant to the Commission’s directions, the Assistant Registrar (Medical), Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Delhi vide letter dated 14 November 2003 submitted a further report indicating that a provision of reservation of 3% seats in all medical courses for physically handicapped candidates, in accordance with section 39 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, has been made and the complainant Desh Raj, Son of Ratti Ram was admitted to the MBBS course of the University.
The Commission considered the report the closed the case.

 

Year 2004-2005

Atrocities on Adivasi families by forest officials of Wayanad District : Kerala - Case No. 199/11/2002-2003(FC)

The Commission received a complaint from Ms. Nirmala Deshpande and others alleging that on 19th Febraury 2003, the police, forest officials and personnel of Kerala Armed Police opened fire at a gathering of over 1100 Adivasi families who were protesting against the non-implementation of the agreement reached between the Adivasis and the Kerala Government for delivery of the promised land at the Muthanga Forest region of Wayanad District. It was alleged that 16 Adivases died and a large number of Adivasis including children and women received injuries in the incident.

In response to the notices issued to the Chief Secretary and DGP, Kerala, the reports submitted by the State Government of Kerala justified the action of the police firing on the ground that the Adivasis had blatantly violated the law and had murdered a policeman after taking him hostage. The reports also stated that the police used all possible restraint and minimum force to deal with the situation. It was further mentioned that there was only a single death, as against the allegations of the complainant that 16 persons had died as a result of police firing. The report “concluded” that there was no question of any departmental action being taken against any police personnel as they did not violate any law at any point of time and had acted very much within the parameters of law under the supervision of their superiors.

While considering the reports, the Commission directed the Chief Secretary, Kerala to furnish documents relating to the delivery of land to the Adivasis ousted from the forest and the plan, if any, for their rehabilitation. The Commission also recommended to the State Govt. to hand over the investigation of the incident of police firing and the related incidents, including allegations of torture which took place in Muthanga forest region on 19/2/2003 to an independent agency, preferably the C.B.I.

In light of the information furnished by the Govt. of Kerala about registration of seven cases by the CBI in connection with the incidents of Muthanga forest, the Commission directed the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Kerala to communicate the status of the investigation in the seven cases and also to inform the Commission of the steps taken for re-settlement of the tribal families.

The Govt. of Kerala vide letter dated 20/11/2004, submitted a copy of the report of the CBI in case No. PE 2 (S)/2003/CBI/SCB/Chennai in which the CBI concluded that the use of force and the firing by police at Muthanga on 19/2/2003 was clearly necessitated by the turn of events and was fully justified and lawful. The inquiry conducted by CBI did not reveal any lapse on the part of the police while dealing with the situation in Muthanga and as such no action was recommended against any of the officials.

Baby Vineetha (minor) represented by her father, Balan, along with seven others filed a Writ Petition (C) No. 35533/2004 before the High Court of Kerala against the NHRC, the Director, CBI, New Delhi and six other respondents praying for issue of a writ of Mandamus directing the NHRC to invoke its powers under section 13 and 14 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, to constitute a special investigation team to entrust the investigation of incidents pertaining to the atrocities committed by the Kerala Police personnel against the petitioner and other tribal children in Wyanad District on or after 19/2/2003, to book the culprits and to prosecute them in accordance with law. A further prayer had been made for issue of Writ of Mandamus for awarding Rs. 10 lakhs as compensation under public law remedy and to recover the amount of compensation from the guilty police personnel.

While considering the matter on 28/3/2005, the Commission observed that since the report of the CBI was under consideration by the Hon’ble High Court, the Commission could not examine the report and it was not possible to carry out any further investigation by the Commission in accordance with the procedure prescribed under the Code of Criminal Procedure and the scheme of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. The matter was still pending consideration before the High Court at the time of writing of the Annual Report.

Allegations of death, rape and torture of tribals as a result of actions of the Joint Task Force set up by the Governments of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to apprehend Veerappan and associates. (Case No.222/10/97-98, Case No.534/22/97-98, Case No. 795/22/97-98, Case No. 249/10/97-98, Case No. 79/10/99-2000)

The Commission in its Annual Report for the year 1999-2000 had reported about a number of communications, both from individuals and from NGOs, concerning activities of the sandal wood smuggler, Veerappan and efforts of the Joint Special Task Force (JSTF) of the States of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to apprehend him. A constant theme in the communications and complaints received by the Commission had been the harassment caused to the villagers and tribals in the area of operation of the JSTF and the violation of their human rights.

The Commission, while expressing serious concern about the efforts to apprehend Veerappan resulting in frequent complaints that innocent villagers and tribals, living in the area of operation of the JSTF, were subjected to serious violations of their human rights, felt the need for the constitution of a panel of two eminent persons and accordingly, vide proceedings dated 28 June 1999, constituted a Panel comprising of Justice Shri A. J. Sadashiva, former judge of the High Court of Karnataka and Shri C. V. Narasimhan, former Director of CBI as member of the panel.

On 2nd December, 2003, Justice Shri A.J. Sadashiva Panel submitted its report to the Commission.

As the requisite response from the State Govt. functionaries were not received despite follow up action, the Commission vide its proceedings dated 7th March 05, observed as under :-

“The Commission expresses its serious concern over its long delay in sending the comments/remarks to the Justice Sadashiva Panel report. It was sent to the State Governments more than a year ago. Final opportunity is, therefore, granted to the State Governments of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to send their comments/remarks in respect of the various recommendations made by Justice Sadashiva Panel within six weeks. In case response is not received in that period, the Commission shall be constrained to exercise its powers u/s 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.”

Note: The reports from the two State Governments were received after 13th March 2005 (on 2nd May 2005) coinciding with the writing of this Annual Report.
 

Merciless beating of Smt. Susheela Devi by landlord and his accomplice, West Champaran District. Bihar - Case No. 1852/4/2002-2003(WC)/FC

The Commission received a complaint from Smt. Susheela Devi, a landless Scheduled Caste labourer, Distt. West Champaran, Bihar alleging that on asking for wages she herself and other labourers were mercilessly beaten and attacked with fire-arms and stripped off and forced to sit naked for 4-5 hours by the landlord and his accomplice. When the matter was reported to the Inspector of Police, PS Subhadra, no action was taken.

In response to the Commission’s notice, SP, West Champaran, Bihar sent a report stating that a Cr. No. 35/2002 u/s 147, 148, 149, 324, 448, 379, 427, 120-B IPC & 3(1) (x) of the Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was registered against 12 persons by name and 40-50 unknown persons. All the named accused persons surrendered before the Court and were subsequently granted bail.

The Commission vide its proceedings date 11.8.2003 considered the above report and directed DM, West Chambaran to furnish information about the payment of compensation envisaged under the Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

Pursuant to the Commission’s directions, DM, West Champaran, Bihar vide his report dated 14.12.2004 has informed the Commission that payment of compensation of Rs.25,000/- under the provisions of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Act/Rules had been made through cheque to the victim and the charge-sheet against the accused persons has also been filed in the concerned Court.

On consideration of the aforesaid report, the Commission vide its proceedings dated 20.12.2004, took the report on record and closed the case.