NHRC pulls up Govt. for VIP convoy tragedy

NEW DELHI, MAY 7. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Government to pay interim compensation of Rs. 2 lakhs to the parents of a school girl who was crushed to death by a vehicle of the former Prime Minister, Mr. H. D. Deve Gowda's convoy in Gorakhpur.

NHRC sources told UNI today that the Commission also criticised the local administration for casual and apathetic attitude to the tragedy and directed it produce the report of the inquiry. Stating that this was yet another case of hazard to public in movement of VIP's causing even death of pedestrian, the Commission asked the Government to pay the compensation amount within four weeks and send a compliance report to it within six weeks.

The Commission gave this direction on a complaint received from Mr. Kapil Dev Singh that his daughter, Vandana Singh, a student of ninth standard, was crushed by a vehicle deployed for the security of Mr. Gowda while she was returning from school on November 7, 1997. The girl was taken to the hospital by police, but she succumbed to injuries. The complainant had alleged that though a case was registered, no serious investigation had been carried out due to the involvement of police vehicle.

Earlier, taking cognisance of the complaint the NHRC sent notice to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Gorakhpur, calling for a report. The SSP's report stated that during the investigation, it came to light that on that particular day a large number of police vehicles were on duty and it was not possible to identify the vehicle involved. The report said that on completion of the investigation a final report had been filed in the court on June 30, 1998.

Delivering his verdict in the case, the NHRC Chairperson, Mr. Justice, J. S. Verma, observed that though the police admitted that a young girl died in a motor accident involving the ex-prime Minister's motorcade, it has reported that it was not possible to identify the particular vehicle as a large number of vehicles were deployed from several departments as well as police.