Confusion prevails at hearing venue

Complainants told that only listed cases will be heard

Confusion prevailed at Government Guest House, Thycaud, the venue of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) open hearing, on Thursday after scores of people who turned up with complaints were told that only listed cases would be heard. A large number of SC/ST Monitoring Committee members from various districts also had reached the venue on the assumption that they would be allowed to meet the NHRC chairman and members.

SC/ST Monitoring Committee members from as far as Kasaragod, Palakkad, and Kozhikode had gathered at a small pavilion set up on the Guest House grounds for the petitioners. All of them had arrived in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning.

They protested on being informed that they would not be able to meet the NHRC officials and were asked to leave. All of them had made the trip on the strength of letters issued by various police stations asking them to attend the hearings.

The committee members, several of them daily-wage earners, had been informed that the commission would be holding an open hearing/camp sitting on October 31 and November 1 in Thiruvananthapuram and that they would be able to present their grievances to the national body. “I got a call from the police two days ago saying that I should go for the hearing,” said Kunjoojitty, a member of the Kattappana subdivision of SC/ST Monitoring Committee.

False information

A Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) worker, he was one among several persons from various parts of Idukki who made the trip to Thiruvananthapuram. “Our one-side trip alone costs ₹333 per head,” said T.R. Krishnan from Munnar. According to the members, they were told that food and accommodation would be ready at the venue.

“But when we arrived, we were told that the building was off-limits,” he said. Another committee member, Mani Raju, who is also a grama panchayat member from Kottayam district, also related the same story.

“I was told that we would be able to meet the commission. We have made the trip in vain,” Ms. Raju said.

Meanwhile, people who arrived with fresh complaints began protesting on being told that the commission would process the complaints and would list them for hearings at a later date. In all, 96 complaints were listed for hearing on Thursday in four Single Benches by NHRC chairman H.L. Dattu and members P.C. Pant, Jyotika Kalra, and D. M. Mulay. According to the commission, public notices had been issued through national and local dailies inviting complaints for the open hearing.

As protests mounted, Sunil Arora, Joint Registrar, NHRC, came down to the pavilion and began accepting the complaints. He told the complainants that the complaints would be taken to New Delhi for processing.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 2:16:38 AM |

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