Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) Chairperson S.R. Nayak on Wednesday accused Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa of masterminding the criticism unleashed against the commission and its members.

“If Mr. Yeddyurappa is true to his conscience, let him speak to me and explain where the commission is acting beyond its powers. I am inviting him. He [Mr. Yeddyurappa] should not speak from behind a veil,” Mr. Nayak told presspersons on Wednesday.

The Chief Minister, Mr. Nayak said, should own up to the statements made by his Political Secretary B.J. Puttaswamy, Fisheries Minister Anand Asnotikar and BJP spokesperson Ayanoor Manjunath. “We [the commission] are accountable if we exceed our jurisdiction as laid down under the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 and the Constitution. It is their [State Government's] right to challenge our actions before the courts. They cannot stand in public and talk about our limitations. Who are they to say it?” Mr. Nayak said.

Mr. Nayak was reacting to the reported comments made by Mr. Puttaswamy on April 21. Mr. Puttaswamy had said Mr. Nayak was using public platforms to blame the Government for the problems faced by the people. The State's Special Representative in Delhi V. Dhananjay Kumar, Ministers Ramachandra Gowda and Anand Asnotikar and Mr. Manjunath had made statements criticising the functioning of the SHRC.

Governor apprised

Mr. Nayak said he met Governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Tuesday and brought to his notice the continued criticism of the SHRC.

“I cannot disclose the reaction of the Governor. I have mentioned the State Government's inaction in providing me a police escort, which is necessary considering the nature of my task of human rights protection,” he said.

Legal action

Mr. Nayak said the SHRC has decided to take permissible legal action against the persons criticising the commission. “We are taking legal opinion about the action to be taken. The commission does not have the power to initiate contempt proceedings,” he said.

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