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Political parties in Tamil Nadu forcing people to attend rallies, NHRC issues notice
Taking cognizance of a complaint that in Tamil Nadu several people were gathered, forced and threatened to sit for political rallies, in open fields under the scorching Sun, for four to five hours without water and other basic facilities, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices to State's Chief Secretary and Director General of Police.

These forced gatherings in the political rallies are leading to injuries and loss of lives, amounting to violation of basic and fundamental human rights. Interestingly in the State due to severe heat wave conditions the the District Collectors' have ordered that public should not venture out from 11:00 a.m. to 04:00 p.m.

According to a statement by the NHRC, it has asked the concerned authorities to reply to its notice within two weeks. The right's body has also directed them to take all necessary measures to prevent re-occurrence of all such incidents in the future.

The NHRC in a release said, "While the political parties, especially during the election period, have every right to organise public meetings, it is also the duty of the State/District Administration, while granting permissions for such meetings, to take all necessary steps considering the safety and security issues in mind."

The Commission said that the repeated incidents, one after the other, point towards failure on part of the authorities.

Allegedly, for three public rallies on the 11th, 15th and 20th April, 2016 in Cuddalore, Virudhunagar and Salem districts respectively, people were forced and threatened to assemble as early as 11:00 a.m. in the scorching heat, although, the meetings were to start after 03:00 p.m.

Allegedly, many people fainted at Virudhuchalam rally in Cuddalore district, creating unrest and panic, which in turn, led to stampede. Total 17 persons were admitted in hospital following the incident. Two persons lost lives as first aid was not provided promptly.

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