NHRC blames officials for human rights violations

Officials ignoring woes of bonded labours: Panel

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday complained of non-cooperation by officials during investigation of human rights violations cases.

NHRC member Justice B C Patel said even in serious cases like fake encounters and employment of bonded labour, government authorities show apathy and protect offenders.

“We ask for requisite documents, but these are not forwarded. We send notices and when we do not get response, we send coercive notices. Even then they do not reply,” Justice Patel said in a press conference called to inform media about the compliance on NHRC recommendations in complaints of fake encounters and bonded labour.
“Police can’t be allowed to execute anyone on its own. But this is happening in our country,” said the NHRC member.

He also said as far as the recommendations of the NHRC are concerned the files are seldom put before chief minister or minister. He said officers are not the right authority to decide these matters. “Recommendations are ignored,” he complained.

He said in a case in Maharashtra, the recommendation for compensation was denied on the ground that it would demoralise the police force. “In 3 cases in Andhra Pradesh, the chief minister decided not to give compensations,” said Justice Patel.

Bonded labours

He said that similar apathy is practiced in the cases of bonded labour. “The Supreme Court has given clear guidelines, but it is never compliedwith. There is no application of mind. By and large, they are influenced by employer.”

The legislation empowers District Magistrate to probe into cases of bonded labours, but generally a policeman is entrusted with the task, he said.

Justice Patel gave details of alleged encounters and presence of bonded labours in states. In Uttar Pradesh, which tops the list, during1993-2012, 948 cases of encounters were found. Assam was second with 229 encounter cases, followed by Maharashtra (124) and Andhra Pradesh (120) and 1,489 cases of bonded labour.

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