Saturday, September 20, 2014

National Human Rights Commission issues notice to Jharkhand government

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today issued a notice to Jharkhand home secretary N.N. Pandey, asking for a “factual report” within two weeks on two villagers allegedly gunned down by the police on September 3 in Gumla on the mistaken assumption that they were Maoists.

NHRC public relations officer Jaimini Kumar Srivastava told The Telegraph that the human rights watchdog had taken suo motu cognisance of a media report that said that on September 3, police in Gumla’s Bishunpur block shot dead two villagers and injured four others believing them to be rebels.

“The commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, raised a serious issue of human rights violation. Accordingly, a notice has been issued to the home secretary, government of Jharkhand, calling for a factual report within two weeks,” says the NHRC communiqué.

Reportedly, when the police had fired at a bauxite-laden truck, driver Hiralal Oraon (30) and helper Nilesh Oraon (26) had lost their lives. Of the four others who got injured, two were brought to RIMS, Ranchi, while two more were sent to a local hospital. Police said they had recovered and had been discharged.

That the police made a serious mistake seems to be apparent from the fact that the state quickly announced Rs 10 lakh each as compensation for the kin of Hiralal and Nilesh, which was paid as promptly. Largely tight-lipped, Gumla SP Bhimsen Tuti said: “A magistrate-level inquiry and a probe by an inspector-general ranked policeman and South Chotanagpur commissioner have been done.”

Inspector-general of police M.S. Bhatia and South Chotanagpur divisional commissioner K.K. Khandelwal, have placed an internal fact-finding report before home secretary Pandey. On its contents, Bhatia said: “That’s confidential.” Some policemen said that anti-rebel operations were on when the truck happened to come in the line of fire.