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NHRC's 3-day open hearing, camp sitting concluded in Hyderabad
The three day 'Open Hearing' and 'Camp Sitting', from April 22 - 24, 2015, of the National Human Rights Commission on the issues concerning human rights of the people of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana concluded in Hyderabad today.

During this NHRC held meeting with senior officers and expressed hope that the State Governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana would proactively engage itself for timely compliance of its recommendations and work towards promotion and protection of human rights in these States.

Several issues of human rights violation were discussed with the senior officers and they were sensitized that responsibility of protecting the human rights of the poor and marginalised people lies with the State and their problems should be dealt with a humane approach.

According to a NHRC's press release, the issues of discussions covered reforms in jails, bonded labour, police atrocities, grabbing of land of SCs, implementation of flagship programmes, delay in submission of reports etc. as well as the issues which were brought to the notice of the Commission during its 'Open Hearing' and discussions with NGOs including murder of Pastors, false implication of scheduled castes, atrocities against red sanders, rising cases of death in custody, increasing number of suicide by debt ridden farmers, patta not being provided despite allotment and the need to sensitize the state authorities as well as the public about human rights.

The issue of farmer suicide was discussed in detail with the State functionaries. The State Government has informed that steps are being taken to alleviate the problems of the farmers which includes debt waiver, drought proof irrigation etc.

The matter pertaining to death of 20 red sanders during the course of police action in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh on the 7th April, 2015 was taken up by the Commission. 

After hearing the submissions made by the representatives of the civil society and the State Government the Commission has directed that in addition to its earlier order dated 13.04.2015, mobile number of all the officials involved in the police action, medico-legal reports of the police personnel injured in the action are also to be submitted to the Commission.

The Commission has also decided to send its own team for inquiry at the spot. The State Government has been asked to facilitate investigation team of NHRC.

Apart from taking the case of killing of 20 red sanders in Sesachalam hill range the Commission also took up the case in which five under trial prisoners were killed in District Nalgonda while being brought to Hyderabad for Court hearing. Many representatives of the civil society protested that the said five prisoners were eliminated in pursuance of conspiracy. The Commission directed inquiry by a judicial magistrate in the matter.

The issue of rehabilitation of 920 bonded labourers in Krishna district was also taken up and the Commission pointed out to the authorities concerned that delay in rehabilitation defeats the very purpose of release of bonded labourers. The Govt. of Telangana conceded that there were some bonded labourers in Rangareddy and Medak districts and agreed to issue Release Certificates to them.

The Commission was informed that the residential school for visually handicapped children in Kakinada where the Coordinator had caned three minor children has been taken over by the Govt.

The Commission was also informed that the persons who had suffered due to explosion in the GAIL pipeline had been given monetary compensation accommodation and job.

The families of three sewerage workers who had died of suffocation after entering a manhole in Vishakhapatnam district were given comp of 6 lakh each, a house and a job.

In many cases of custodial death, where it was found that the police or prison authorities were responsible, the Commission recommended monetary relief amounting to Rs. 7 lakh for the next of kin. In one case of encounter the Commission did not believe the police version and recommended compensation of Rs five lakh.

During the open hearing, the Commission gained the impression that the police investigation of cases reported by Scheduled castes was not as quick and fair as it should be. The District Magistrates and Labour Offices need to be sensitized about their functions and duties under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 and Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulations) Act, 1986.

The incident which resulted in death of 20 red sanders and five under-trial prisoners in Seshachalam Forest and Nalgonda District respectively need to be investigated in a free, impartial and credible manner.

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