The Human Rights
Situation in Orrissa
Biswapriya Kanungo writes :
The photograph flashed in the daily newspapers of 21.10.2000, wherein a police officer in the Bheden police station is seen to be urinating in the face of a person under custody in the police lock-up is horrifying.Quite more shocking is the ridiculous clarification given by no less a responsible officer than the D.G.of police, Orissa, who, while admitting the incident, tried to brush it aside as a matter of cracking a joke by the concerned police officer with the person under custody. This speaks of the trivial attitude of the whole police administration towards questions of rights of the common people and even if it is a matter of joke, it does not lessen the barbarity of the incident either. It is certainly a cruel joke and once again confirms the savage and sadistic mindset of the man in authority, besides showing again the disdainful attitude the police normally displays towards the dignity, particularly of the common man on the street.
If anything this incident in no way can be said to be anything extraordinary in view of the umpteen number of such incidents of violation of human rights from various quarters taking place in the state as are being reported every other day, not to speak of the incidents which could not have made it to the Press. To take some examples on 13 October, a hired wage labourer had been brutally beaten, splashed with warm water and given electric shock on the charge of theft by one influential family in Cuttack, having political connection and said to be a relative of one cabinet minister of the Navin Patnayak govt. In another incident, a class-iv employee of Stewart School, a reputed public school at Bhubaneswar had been forced by the School secretary to kneel down and move on his knees in the public for allegedly defying the authorities. On 17th of October, in a village under Kodala police station of Ganjam district, 8 women and 6 men were tortured under confinement with hot iron marks by the village committee on charges of practising witchcraft. These happenings within a span of only one
month, to some extent, can be taken as an index of the precarious human rights situation in the state. Whereas, in one case the traditional culprit, police is the violator; in the second case the violator is an influential family with political connection; in the third case, it is a private establishment managed by influential people with connection at top political and bureaucratic level and in the fourth case, the violator is a village committee dominated by the rural rich.
Immediately prior to the above incidents, in September,2000, an eight-year-old girl of Nayapalli slum area was brutally beaten by the Nayapalli police inside the lock-up in the dead of night, a home-guard was beaten and injured by a police officer of the Badgada Police station, a school teacher in the capital city itself, two journalists were beaten up by the goondas of a private company Utkal Alumina at Kasipur in Raygada district, to mention only a few.
Such alarming situation calls for concern from every conscientious quarter to take deterrent measures and to device preventive mechanisms to check the recurrence of such incidents.
The Orissa Government should constitute a State Human Rights Commission as provided under section 21 of protection of Human Rights Act which is supposed to be an independent autonomous body to investigate into matters of human rights violation also. The Government should constitute human rights courts in each district under Section 30 of the Protection of Human Rights Act.
No doubt people are fully aware of the limitations, shortcomings, apathy and weaknesses such institutions are destined to suffer under the present socio-economic-political system. Still, it is high time such mechanisms constituted which, to some extent, may exert some deterrence against the violation of human rights in the state.
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