NHRC notice to UP police over police inaction in a gang rape case

New Delhi : The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that no FIR had been registered in a case of gang rape in Haidergarh area of Barabanki District in Uttar Pradesh on the 13th April, 2014.
Reportedly, the incident happened at the behest of a woman who, dissatisfied with the jail sentence to the rapist of her teenage daughter, conspired to avenge her daughter’s trauma by meting out the same fate to the wife of her daughter’s tormentor. The four alleged culprits also included the father of the girl. The victim of sexual assault was found in a critical condition by villagers on the roadside and was admitted to a nearby medical facility.
The Commission has observed that the contents of the press report, if true, amount of serious violation of human rights of the victim. It has issued notice to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Barabanki calling for a report in the matter within four weeks.

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Calcium Carbide used to ripen Fruits, NHRC steps in

By Prafulla Das in Bhubaneswar :

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought an action taken report from Health Ministry over use of Calcium Carbide to ripen fruits despite a nationwide ban. The Commission has ordered the secretary of Health and Family welfare Ministry to file a report in the matter within eight weeks time.

The directive of the Commission has come Wednesday in response to a petition filed by Odisha-based human rights campaigner Akhand. The petitioner alleged that traders in the country continue to use calcium carbide to ripen fruit such as mangoes, bananas, oranges and watermelon, despite the ban by the Government of India on the use of the chemical.

In India , use of calcium carbide is strictly banned as per PoFA (Prevention of Food Adulteration) Act [Section 44AA], because it contain the traces of arsenic and phosphorus, which pose a serious threat to human health. Acetylene gas, a by-product of calcium carbide, creates heat. It is mainly used as a fuel and in welding, and contains toxic impurities that affect the nervous system.

When acetylene is filled into the fruit in a box, it heats the fruit from outside, and thus the mangoes and oranges turn yellow or orange, as the case may be. In order to curb the use of calcium carbide to ripen fruit, awareness among the masses is needed. Traders should be aware that instead of calcium carbide, they could use ethylene gas to ripen mangoes and other fruit. But, Government is doing nothing in this regard, alleged Akhand. He sought strong action against the erring traders.

Banned drugs are injurious to health. It endangers human life and can create health hazards in the country. So, NHRC has taken cognizance in the case and issued notice to Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India for quick action, informed the Petitioner.

NHRC’s swift intervention ensures voting by some SC labourers in Odisha today

New Delhi : The National Human Rights Commission, in a swift move, ensured that the Government of Odisha provided police protection to some Scheduled Caste rescued bonded laboureres, to cast their vote at village Birakesharipur, PS Gadishangooda, District Puri today, the 17th April, 2014. They were ousted from their village and were living elsewhere on footpaths while fighting for their right to live in their village.

The Commission registered the case on a complaint received yesterday on the 16th April, 2014 that one Maguni Sethi and two other bonded labour families were ousted from their house since long. They wanted to exercise their right to vote but were not feeling safe to go to the electoral booth in the village.

The Commission took up the matter expeditiously with the Special Secretary (Home) and Superintendent of Police, Puri to ensure that they got police protection to cast their vote. The complainant, Shri Baghambar Pattnaik, also a Member of the NHRC’s Core Group of NGOs, has confirmed that the labourers had cast their vote in police protection.

NHRC notice to the Delhi Government and Police Commissioner over fire in an old age home

New Delhi : The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that two persons were killed in a fire which broke out in an Old Age Shelter Home in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi in the intervening night of 3rd and 4th April, 2014. The dead included 60 year old Ramesh Chand and 27 year old Poonam, a dumb woman who was given this name by the Earth Savior Foundation, an NGO, which was running this Old Age Shelter Home in make shift tents.
The Home primarily houses mentally disabled persons, senior citizens and those left by their children. At the time of incident, there were about 150 inmates in the 10 make shift tents. Most of them were rescued but a few of them were still missing as it was suspected that they would have ran away after the incident.
The Commission has observed that the contents of the press report, if true, amount to serious violation of human rights of the victims. It has issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi and Delhi Police Commissioner calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks.

Deploy speed boats in Puri beach, NHRC tells Odisha govt

Bhubaneswar : The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Odisha government to acquire and deploy, without delay, speed boats/ water scooters at the Puri sea beach to rescue people not within the reach of the life guards deployed.

The NHRC’s directive to the Odisha government came in response to a petition filed by human rights activist Akhand in January last year in which he had alleged that the Puri beach had become a killing field for the tourists coming here to enjoy a bath or swim in the sea with the state government doing precious little to prevent such deaths which can be easily avoided.
In his petition, the activist had alleged that the world famous Puri sea beach was unfit for bathing because of the high tides in the sea here. In the last five years, over a 100 tourists had lost their lives while bathing in the sea but the government had done nothing to prevent such deaths. He said 18 tourists had drowned in 2012, 16 in 2011, 14 in 2010, 21 in 2009 and 17 in 2008 while bathing at the Puri beach.

The apex rights body had then asked the chief secretary to inform it of the steps it had taken to prevent such deaths within four weeks. While admitting that the sea at Puri was not suitable for bathing because of the high tides, the Puri collector, SP and additional secretary Home department, in their reports to the Commission, had said that a helpline for tourists had been set up, 123 home guards from the local ‘Nolia’ community deployed, three police assistance centres, five watch towers and 30 signboards in different languages put up on the beach.

This apart, the government had also taken steps like provision of free life jackets by voluntary agencies, arrangement for police patrolling, airing of awareness advertisements in television channels, availability of funds for tourists in times of emergency, training of tourist police etc, said the officials in their reply.

Basing on the arguments of the rights activist that these steps were not being properly implemented, the Commission directed the government to ensure the strict implementation of the steps mentioned by it. It further directed that speed boats / water scooters be acquired to rescue the people out of the reach of the life guards deployed without delay.
(Courtesy : http://odishasuntimes.com )

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