PUCL wants law to safeguard rights activists from vindictive actions

Accusing the Union government of being in connivance with the Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh governments in harassing and intimidating rights activist and People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) general secretary Kavita Srivastava, the PUCL on Tuesday appealed to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to ensure that Ms. Srivastava and other rights activists got protection.

A joint team on Monday raided Ms. Srivastava's home in search of an alleged Maoist.

Along with PUCL president Prabhakar Sinha, the former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Rajinder Sachar, National Advisory Council member Harsh Mander, and social activist Shabnam Hashmi, Ms. Srivastava demanded that the NHRC take a serious view of the matter and stand by its commitment to protect human rights defenders.

PUCL demand

Apart from seeking protection for Ms. Srivastava, the PUCL demanded that the commission evolve a jurisprudence for human rights activists, particularly to safeguard them from vindictive actions on the part of government.

The Chhattisgarh government had initiated the raid upon receiving inputs from Central intelligence agencies.

“Vindictive”

The PUCL accused the Rajasthan government of nurturing a grudge against it over the NHRC's endorsement of its report on the Bharatpur riots and the exposure of the State's misdeeds against Muslim minorities and the poor.

Pointing out that the Rajasthan government and its police were well acquainted with Ms. Srivastava's crusade against communalism and atrocities, the organisation said the action smacked of vindictiveness.