Dattu seeks more teeth to NHRC

Bhubaneswar: Expressing its inability to come to the rescue of people sandwiched between Maoists and security personnel in different LWE-hit areas, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Wednesday sought amendment to the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
Addressing media persons at the end of NHRC’s three-day camp and open hearing session here, NHRC Chairperson Justice H L Dattu said, “There should be amendment to the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 so that the commission can take action against officials who ignore its recommendations.”
“The commission should have the power to start proceedings against officials ignoring recommendations,” he told newsmen admitting that NHRC has ended up only as a recommending body.
Since its inception in 1993, the rights panel has provided justice, liberty and equality to many victims of human rights violation, he said.    On a question on the plight of people sandwiched between the Maoists and the police, Justice Dattu said, “Situation is gradually changing. The Chief Secretary of Orissa has informed me that incidents of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) are reported from certain pockets of only two districts. Gradually, things will improve.”
Asked about how NHRC could come to the rescue of innocent people caught between Maoists and police, Justice Dattu said, “The government has been working to improve the situation in the LWE-hit areas. Things may not change overnight.” Speaking on imprisonment of certain tribal people on the basis of alleged false cases, Justice Dattu said, “The commission will act if it gets complaints in this regard. Publish these in newspapers and bring them to our notice.”
The commission observed that its recommendation to include human rights in the school curriculum has been accepted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said he has informed the commission that the state would include human rights as a subject in the schools from 2018-19 academic year. Justice Dattu also said the commission last year took at least 350 cases suo motu and issued notice to authorities, some of which have been responded.
He said the commission has made certain recommendations to the state government on the issues relating to the food security, rehabilitation of bonded labourers, issuance of caste certificates, atrocities in police stations and others.
The commission heard about 107 cases during these three days, of which 47 cases were disposed of. The NHRC ordered distribution of compensation to the tune to `28.5 lakh to the victims and family members of victims.

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