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NHRC's chief concerned over oppression and discrimination of SCs, STs in Jharkhand
The two-day Camp Sitting and Open Hearing (7th-8th September, 2016) of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) concluded at Ranchi, Jharkhand today. In his inaugural address, NHRC Chairperson Justice Shri HL Dattu expressed concern about human rights violation, oppression and discrimination of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the state.

The commitment of the Commission for promotion and protection of human rights of these vulnerable citizens of the country was emphasized. In her address, the Chief Secretary, government of Jharkhand Smt Raj Bala Verma assured about compliance of the recommendations made by the Commission and the state's commitment for amelioration of the cause of the vulnerable section.

On the opening day, 15 cases were taken up in the sitting of Full Commission, presided over by NHRC Chairperson Justice Shri HL Dattu and comprising members Justice Shri Cyriac Joseph, Justice Shri D Murugesan and Shri SC Sinha. Six cases were finally disposed of, including two cases in which recommendations of the Commission for payment of monetary relief of Rs 9,00,000 were complied with.

In the case of contamination of drinking water due to fluoride and arsenic content in the water, the Commission directed the state government to submit a district wise status report regarding drinking water condition and its action plan within a period of three months.

In a case of death due to silicosis, while rejecting the contention of the state government that ESIC is responsible for payment of compensation, the Commission has asked the state government to pay the compensation to the victim as per its recommendation. In the case of illegal mining, the Commission called for a status report from the state government within a period of three months.

The Commission also issued a notice to the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Coal India Ltd to submit a report in the matter. The Commission was particularly concerned about the status of the land on which mining work had been completed.

In the case of an encounter that took place between the combined team of the District Police Palamu and the COBRA Battalion of CRPF in Bakoria Village, Palamu district on June 9, 2015, the Commission has issued directions for submission of CBCID report within three months. During the Open Hearing, three single benches presided over by Justice Shri Cyriac Joseph, Justice Shri D Murugesan and Shri SC Sinha took up 69 cases pertaining to grievances of the persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Out of the 69 cases, 27 cases were finally disposed of. In a number of cases, the complainants / victims were provided relief following intervention of the Commission, which include sanctioning of widow pension and old age pension, restoration of possession of land to the allottees etc. In a case of non-registration of FIR by police, the Commission has recommended payment of compensation of Rs 50,000 to the victim.

In another case of non-registration of FIR, show cause notice was issued to the concerned Superintendent of Police as to why monetary relief of Rs 25,000 be not recommended to be paid to the victim. In three cases, the Commission asked the authorities to examine the applicability of provisions of SC/ST Act and if so, to pay compensation as per the provisions of the Act.

In a number of cases, the Commission has also asked the authorities concerned to examine the matters and submit comprehensive reports within a time frame. In the two Division Benches on day two, the Commission took up twelve cases of deaths/excesses in police action. Five cases were finally disposed of. These include three cases in which concerned authorities paid compensation of Rs 41,00,000 to the victims / NoK of the deceased and injured persons.

In a case of detention by police beyond 24 hours, the Commission recommended a compensation of Rs 5,000 each to 25 victims. The Commission also issued a notice in a case of accidental death in police firing to show cause as to why compensation of Rs 2,00,000 be not paid to the NoK of the deceased.

During the two days Camp Sitting, the Commission recommended a total monetary relief of Rs 3,25,000 in three cases. Besides, the state government reported that a total amount of Rs 50,00,000 had been paid as compensation including ex-gratia in five cases considered. After sitting of the division benches, the Commission had an interaction with the representatives of NGOs. 

During the meeting, the representative of NGOs raised the issues of growing menace of bonded & child labour, rehabilitation of children of parents who died of silicosis, non-inclusion of the workers in the ESIC, insistence of post-mortem for silicosis affected people, vocational training for juveniles especially children in conflict with law, trafficking of children/adults/girls to other states, identity of the children living on footpaths, absence of Scheduled Tribes Commission in Jharkhand and rights of children with regards to mental retardation & disability.

Thereafter, the Commission met the senior officers of the state government chief secretary, principal secretaries of various departments, DGP and other senior civil and police officers of the state. The Commission took up the issues raised by the NGOs during the interaction with the state authorities.

The Commission also took up the issues of silicosis, implementation of various welfare schemes eg Indira Awas Yojna, Mid-Day Meal, NRHM, ICDS, SSA, PDS, MGNREGA etc. Other issues taken up were of delay in submission of inquest, post-mortem reports and magisterial enquiry in cases of encounter and custodial deaths, appointment of teachers and doctors and fluoride level in endemic districts.

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