NHRC Chairperson visits Gujarat

The Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, Justice Shri J.S. Verma, is leaving for Ahmedabad this evening for an on-the-spot study of the situation in Gujarat between 20 - 22 March 2002. He is being accompanied by senior officials of the Commission. On 20 March, he is scheduled to meet the senior officials of the State Government, Non-Governmental Organizations and eminent citizens and also visit various camps. He will visit Vadodara on 21 March 2002 and Godhra on 22 March 2002.

On 1 March 2002, the Commission had taken suo motu cognizance of news items reporting communal flare-up in the state and suggesting inaction by the police force and the highest functionaries in the State. Subsequently the Commission also received a number of petitions and reports from individuals and other bodies urging it to intervene. In view of the urgency of the matter, the Commission was of the view that it would not be appropriate for it to stay its hand till the veracity of the reports had been established; and it was necessary to proceed immediately assuming them to be prima facie correct. As demanded by the situation, the Commission took note of these facts and stepped-in to prevent any negligence in the protection of human rights of the people in the State of Gujarat irrespective of their religion.

The Commission had issued notice by FAX to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Gujarat for reply within three days indicating the measures being taken and in contemplation to prevent any further escalation of the situation in the State of Gujarat, which was resulting in continued violation of human rights of the people. In response, a preliminary report has been received so far and the comprehensive report is awaited.