Will probe rights violations, Maoist violence

For the first time since the formation of Chhattisgarh in 2000, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will hold a “full commission” sitting in State capital Raipur.

NHRC chairperson Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and its members, Justice B.C. Patel and retired diplomat Satyabrat Pal, will hold several sessions till Friday.

According to sources in the NHRC, investigating officers and the special rapporteur of the commission had visited the State, but the full Commission was coming for the first time.

The NHRC will talk to people from all walks of life and the government on many issues, including the plight of bonded and child labour, conservancy workers and leprosy patients. “The members will visit schools in Dantewada to figure out the state of children’s education, especially those of tribal children,” said a NHRC official.

The commission will hold discussions with victims to ascertain the nature of violence allegedly committed by security forces and special police officers (SPOs). It will also check whether the situation has improved after the State-funded vigilante force, Salwa Judum, was banned and the SPOs were disarmed following a Supreme Court judgment. “We would like to know about relief and rehabilitation in the last couple of years,” said the official.

Several individuals and NGOs have been called to testify. According to a NHRC circular, deteriorating public health condition and atrocities committed on girls in hostels are the focus areas. Doctors and other professionals will interact with the commission on these issues. Besides, caste atrocities, the impact of Maoist violence, death of undertrials in judicial custody, sexual abuse of children by teachers and allegations of running prostitution rackets will be examined.

The “torture” of tribal teacher Soni Sori, accused of acting as a courier between Essar Steel and the outlawed CPI (Maoist), will figure in the sessions on Thursday.

The team will visit “undisclosed” locations in Dantewada district which are selected “ suo motu or after consulting the aggrieved parties” and examine cases of rights violation. The NHRC has issued notices to the State government on the basis of two reports published by The Hindu over the last few months. “We would expect to raise at least one of those [with the State government],” said the NHRC official.