The National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday issued notices and sought reports from authorities in Himachal Pradesh in connection with the drowning of 25 persons in Beas river allegedly due to unannounced release of water from a dam.

According to a statement, the commission took suo motu cognisance of a media report about the incident and issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Himachal Pradesh, and the Deputy Commissioner, Mandi, calling for a report on the matter within two weeks.

As many as 24 BTech students of a college in Hyderabad and a tour operator were washed away in a flash flood in Beas river near Thalot, 40 km from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday. The victims were caught unawares by the sudden discharge of water in the river from the reservoir of 126 MW Larji project. Six bodies have been recovered so far by rescue teams.

“The cause of the flash flood was stated to be the opening of the floodgates of the Larji hydel project’s dam without warning. Reportedly, the toll could rise as rescue operations were hampered by non—availability of search lights and divers,” the statement said citing a media report.

The State Government admitted that the authorities did not follow the right protocol on use of hooters and other warning signals on the release of water from the hydel project, the statement said.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the media report, if true, raises a serious issue of violation of right to life and safety of the victims.