PUCL Bulletin, Jan. 2001
Jamshedpur, Bihar: Representation to NHRC
Discussion with NHRC at New Delhi
An 11 member delegation from Jamshedpur PUCL visited New Delhi for pre-scheduled discussion with the NHRC on 15/11/2000. The meeting took place in the conference room from 3.00 P M to 5.30 P M. Mr Gopalaswamy, Secretary General, led the NHRC team. He welcomed the visiting delegation from Jamshedpur PUCL. An exclusive meeting followed it with Sri Sudarshan Agarwal, member NHRC, who made a statement that he would initiate formalities for formation of Jharkhand State Human Rights Commission.
PUCL team handed over a memorandum comprising a detailed report on the cases of violation of human rights in the District of Singhbhum East & West, predominantly an Adivasi belt.
The discussion, however, mostly centered round the following issues:-
I. Abnormal delay in documenting findings and in disposal of cases of violation of Human Rights by NHRC.
PUCL, Jamshedpur quoted instances where NHRC had taken more than 4 years to dispose off the cases registered by NHRC. In the case of Nilmony Majhian, who was awarded a compensation of Rs.2 lacs, the verdict unfortunately came after the demise of the victim. Nilmony Majhian had remained in Jail Custody for 10 long years and was acquitted after vigorous pursuing of the case by Sri Jawaharlal Sharma, former President of PUCL, Jamshedpur branch.
Explaining the abnormal time lag, the Secretary General, Mr. Gopalaswami, informed the PUCL team about the constraints and limitations of the NHRC. It receives more than 50 thousand cases every year. With the resources available with NHRC, it was presently not possible to initiate investigations of all cases as promptly as desired. Besides, they also require the reports to come from other concerned Govt. departments, which takes time.
II. Cases disposed off on the basis of false report by police authorities.
PUCL, Jamshedpur referred two cases of police atrocities where NHRC sought reports from the Bihar Government. The Home Department of the State Government forwarded the case to IG Police and thus the paper traveled down to the bottom and ultimately the erring police officers in charge of Police Station. They sent concocted report, far from fact and truth, concealing their misdeeds and terror unleashed by them in Deonagar Basti and the inhuman torture inflicted on Sri Hariram Bhakat. PUCL complaint was accompanied by medical report, statement from fact-finding committee and other relevant documents. Yet, much to our dismay, NHRC relied on the reports sent by the police officers that were culprits themselves and closed these cases.
On this Mr. Gopalaswami, on behalf, of NHRC, requested PUCL Jamshedpur delegation to submit a review petition and assured reconsideration of these and similar other cases.
III. Horrifying conditions in the Jails.
PUCL Jamshedpur team referred to the complaints forwarded to NHRC by Mr. Y P Chhibbar, the General Secretary, National PUCL, about the miserable condition of Sakchi Jail. The team also intimated that reports of more custodial deaths were pouring in. Jails have become "Lucrative Industries" to loot money through musclemen like 'Dabang' prisoners utilized by them to control the Jail. These 'Dabang' criminals torture the other inmates to extract illicit money from their relatives. It is a vicious atmosphere.
On this, Mr. Gopalaswami informed that unfortunately most jails in India were overcrowded and were a in pathetic state to say the least. He said that the NHRC was looking into this in its totality to reform the jails in the country.
Before discussions could be drawn further to other areas like lack of educational facilities, etc., Mr. Gopalaswami informed in a lighter vein that both the NHRC and the PUCL will be required to work for another 50 years to reform the police administration in India.
The PUCL team submitted the report and X-ray films of the minor boy Bhusan Kumar who was shot at by the Telco Security men and requested immediate and proper treatment of the boy through District administration.
At the end, Mr. Sudarshan Agarwal, member, NHRC gave a patient hearing to the PUCL delegation. He informed the delegation that much of the problems now faced by PUCL Jamshedpur would see welcome relief, once the new Jharkhand Government formed the State Human Rights Commission. He said that he would be writing to both the Governor and the Chief Minister of the new State for the formation of the Commission initially with a 3-member set up.
Mr. Agarwal also informed that he would contact the Rotary International of Jamshedpur Chapter to provide medicines for TB patients in Singhbhum District Jails.
To sum up, Jamshedpur PUCL team feels that this kind of meetings are, indeed helpful, in clearing doubts and misgivings and pave way for joint efforts in upholding the ideals of Human Rights and minimizing the human torture by their oppressors.
We the undersigned delegates from PUCL, Jamshedpur, Bihar have come to apprise your esteemed commission about the general human rights condition of this region of newly born Janr5khand State. We are giving below the major areas of blatant violation of Human Rights.
1. There are some cases, which PUCL Jamshedpur investigated and forwarded to NHRC for justice. But it seems that NHRC has closed these cases on the basis of false reports received from the police department.
2. (a) Police Department violating Human Rights. They violate custodial rights. Arrest persons at late night and keep them in custody for days together, torture them and then release them after extortion of money. Human Rights activities including PUCL members are not allowed to meet the person wrongfully detained. Even if this is reported to higher authority, it yields no result.
Annexure 1 (G.C. Das)
(b) Rampant extortion by police and illegal pay offs received in this connection has spread like cobwebs and people of almost all walks of life have fallen pray to this. Usually police stations in East Singhbhum extorting money from encroachers, promoters, illicit liquor traders, small time gamblers, etc and instead of curbing on these, above mentioned illegal trades police authorities are indulging in manifold growth of these trades. These illegal and anti-social traders are greasing the palms of police and thereby strengthening their illegal business, which damaging the social fabric.
(c) Voices of helpless
people are often being suppressed by force, filing false criminal cases or by
branding him or her as extremist. PUCL has come across several such cases in
villages and mofussil towns around East Singhbhum district, where people when
deprived of or denied of basic necessities like ration card, minimum wages or
in case of any such complaint, raise their voice through peaceful demonstration/dharna
or simply want to lodge complaint, they were threatened by the police or branded
naxalites or being trapped in false criminal cases by the police. Especially
in most of the villages, the nexus among village heads, police, and leaders
of political parties ration shop owners in causing concern & becoming the
fountainhead of corruption for harassing innocent villagers.
Annexure 2 (Dumuria)
(d) PUCL has come across cases of rampant illegal practices of deliberately avoiding delivering of summons issued by the Court to the concerns persons. However, when repeated summons fails to evoke any response and warrant is issued, police reaches the concerned person, mostly on odd hours, and extort money under threat of immediate arrest. This illegal and abominable way has become a regular practice, which not only put the person in stress but at the same time tarnishing the image of judiciary.
Annexure 3 (Mukul Chakraborty)
(e) In recent past, several cases of false encounter by police and custodial death have been reported and the same were forwarded to you by PUCL after due investigation. However we are yet to receive any reply, in this regard, from your end.
JAIL AND REMAND HOME
In the twin districts of East and West Singhbhum of newly formed Jharkhand State, there are five jails namely Chaibasa District Jail & Saraikela Jail in West Singhbhum and Ghagidi Jail, Sakchi Jail, Ghatsila Jail in east Singhbhum. The façade of these jails as well as their inner conditions are simply unthinkable in terms of minimum human living conditions. In this regard it would be useless to talk of following the statutory jail manual, in these Jails. More over the said manual, as known to you, is more than, 100 years old. These over crowded jails, supply food to the inmates, which are not at all fit for human consumption. In this connection we have apprised you of the above conditions from time to time and recently our National Committee too written about the pathetic condition in Sakchi Jail, including the custodial death of a music teacher Mr. K.P. Sil. We have also reported bout rampant corruption in the abovementioned jails and the ongoing extortion by jail mafias, from new entrants to the jail by threat and torture. In Bumamines Remand Home, there is no provision for electricity since its establishment & even after bringing this to the knowledge of higher authority; no effort has been put to provide electricity in the Remand Home. As such there is no such scope being provided to the inmates of this home for vocational training, and the same to be arranged soon. Most of the inmates in the remand home hails from poorest of families and doesn't have the financial strength to arrange for necessary legal advise for bail petition.
Annexure 4 (Remand Home)
Annexure 5 (Sakchi Jail- another custodial death)
In twin districts of East and West Singhbhum of Jharkhand State there are four courts, of which two district and session courts are at Chaibasa & Jamshedpur and other lower Courts at Ghatsila and Saraikela. The over all pictures of these Courts are no different from other Courts in India where lakhs of cases are causing immense trauma & stress for the litigants because of expensive and complex legal procedure. The poor people are unable to get justice due to this never-ending process. If a survey is conducted, it can be found out that hundreds and thousands of prisoners are languishing in jails due to their inability to bear the expense of legal battle. The total cases pending at Jamshedpur courts are Criminal cases: 1281 up to August 2000. Civil cases: 6211 up to September 2000
While the society is holding Judiciary in high esteem and expect it to come to the rescue of whose who needs help dearly, the Judiciary, in fact, failed to live up to that expectation due to nepotism biasness and above all its inability to punish the real culprit. In bail petition it appears that bails were granted under influence & thereby tarnishing the image of Judiciary.
The only Labour Court in this twin districts, is situated in Jamshedpur and its plight is really in dire straits. 667 pending cases are awaiting for disposal for years together. Jamshedpur and its neighbouring areas being an industrial belt, the importance of Labour Courts is very important. There is no exclusive presiding officer in this Labour Court and present incumbent has to share his duty with Dhanbad Court also. The Labour court has no executive power too.
However, there is silver lining among this gloomy judicial process as recently the Lok Adalat are executing their duty quite effectively & efficiently. But the frequency of Lok Adalat has to increased in order to fill up the gulf created by slow disposal of cases.
India being the largest & the most vibrant democracy in world, its democratic fabric and rights of citizens are also expected to be of highest order. Unfortunately in places it is quite different story. In this region of Jharkhand, even holding of Dharna or any other peaceful demonstration are allowed based on its political color, caste equation and clout of its organizer with the administration. It may not be out of place to mention about some selective incidents from scores of such incidents.
Annexure 6 (press clipping
Annexure 7 (Telco temporary employees)
The primary education is in such a state that several schools are conducted in open air. In addition to this surprising absence of basis necessity for the schools, the mal practice in school administration is damaging the education process beyond repair. The Director of Secondary Education (DSE) used to release mass transfer order of schoolteachers. Particularly the lady teachers, to remote places away form their home (50 to 60 KM) and thereafter collect huge sum of money for re transferring them to the schools of their own choices. Attendances of students in village schools are abysmally low and there is hardly any scope for extra-curricular activities.
Annexure 8 (Mass Transfer)
However, in this dark scenario there is a school in a place named Bonkati (about 40 kms from Jamshedpur) village where a middle schools is functioning like a model school. While its student attendance is more then 90%, the level of education among student and the sincerity of the teachers are setting precedent for other to follow. All this miracle is possible due to total dedication and commitment shown by the school's headmaster Mr. Ratha. His leadership is setting a benchmark for other to imbibe.
Now, with the formation of Jharkhand State, the following, matters are to be taken up immediately.
1. Withdrawal of all cases
instituted against the leaders of different social & political organisations
by the state during prolonged agitation for a separate Jharkhand State.
2. The government should take up a comprehensive rehabilitation policy with retrospective effect to adequately rehabilitate persons, families of the region, displaced for execution of different projects during the past 50 years.
3. To immediately form a State Human Rights Commission, State Women Commission, State Minority Commission, and State Commission for Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribes.
4. To open the old cases of killing of Gangaram Kalundia and Bidar Nag in fake police encounters.
PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
It is essential to give more power to National Human Rights Commission and for this the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 should be suitably amended at the earliest.
For PUCL, Jamshedpur
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