NHRC finds Untouchability and Caste Based Atrocities still rampant in Gujarat

A bench of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), that was conducting a two day open hearing of human rights cases in Gujarat, was shocked to discover that members of Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Dalits reported untouchability and caste-based atrocities in nearly 75% of Gujarat villages. The facts were brought to their attention by some NGOs. “We have categorically asked the chief secretary and the state DGP to take proactive action against perpetrators,” said NHRCChairman Justice H L Dattu.
Justice Dattu also admitted that the commission did not know anything about the state’s actions in the 2012 Thangadh police firing incident, where three Dalit youths were killed. “I am hearing of the Thangadh firing incident for the first time,” Dattu said. He also said that they had no information about action taken in the much-publicised Una Dalit flogging incident, where the victims recently declared their intent to convert to Buddhism due to the state’s apathy. 
The NHRC Panel ruled on several important cases such as that of the suicide of Parvata Bhai Koli, a Pakistani man in Radhanpur jail in 2013. The custodial death case had been referred to the NHRC in 2015. The NHRC directed that a compensation of Rs 1 lakh be paid to Koli’s kin. It also directed the Gujarat government to pay Rs 2 lakhs as compensation to the family of Narvata Meda, who was found dead in the lock up of the Dhanpur Police Station in Dahod in 2011. 

Meawhile the commission has also ordered an inquiry into the high rate of child mortality at Ahmedabad’s Civil Hospital in October last year. Moreover, in the matter pertaining to cases manual scavenging deaths, where the state records a worrisome figure of 161, NHRC member Jyotika Kalra said, “The state government has assured Rs 10 lakh compensation for each of the 40 victims who died after 2014.”

The commission said that of the 17.5 lakh human rights cases across the country since the inception of the NHRC, Gujarat has reported 26,500 cases.



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