Harsh Mander resigns as NHRC spl monitor

Harsh Mander resigns as NHRC spl monitor

Activist Harsh Mander on Monday resigned as the special monitor for minorities and communal violence in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), saying there is "no constructive role" for him in the rights body that has never reached out to him for work.

In his resignation letter to NHRC Chairperson Justice H L Dattu, Mander said he was told that the body would from time to time seek his services to look into matters concerning the rights of minorities and communal violence but "ever since my appointment, the NHRC has not reached out to me even once on these issues".

He cites at least two incidents - his request for looking into encounter killings targeting minorities in UP and Haryana and foreigners in Assam in detention camps - that led him to quit the post, as he felt “compelled to answer my call of conscience”.

He said he was happy to take up the assignment given the "very difficult situation faced by minorities". He was earlier associated with the NHRC on 2002 Gujarat riots and issues related to mental hospitals, bonded labour, right to food and others.

Mander claimed that he took up the responsibility after the NHRC accepted his suggestion that he has the freedom to raise questions of concern with it and if it felt fit, he could look into these issues. “In this context, I wrote to the NHRC about encounter killings targeting minorities in UP and Haryana. Despite many reminders, I did not hear back from the NHRC about my proposal to look into these matters,” he said.

On the conditions of persons deemed to be foreigners in Assam in detention camps, he said the NHRC accepted his proposal after "several reminders". Two officers were deputed to accompany him. After the visit, Mander said, he approached the officers for working on a joint report.

However, he was "surprised" to learn that the officers submitted a separate report despite telling to finalise the report as he was an expert. The NHRC sent the officer's report for action to the central and state governments. Mander too submitted a separate report but he did “receive no answer" on what action the NHRC took on it.

"Because of the continued silence of the NHRC, both in terms of approaching me for investigation or mission on any human rights concerns of minorities and communal violence, for which I had been invited by the NHRC; and on the report I authored on the critical question of persons declared foreigners in Assam, it is apparent that there is no constructive role for the NHRC Special Monitor to play in the NHRC," he said.