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Home > News > India News > Article > Sandeshkhali case Spot inquiry points to violation of human rights says NHRC

Sandeshkhali case: Spot inquiry points to 'violation' of human rights, says NHRC

Updated on: 13 April,2024 02:34 PM IST  |  New Delhi
PTI |

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in its report, also observed that the "pervasive fear of reprisal, coupled with the power dynamics at play, acted as a formidable barrier", preventing individuals from voicing their grievances

Sandeshkhali case: Spot inquiry points to 'violation' of human rights, says NHRC

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In a spot inquiry into the Sandeshkhali case in West Bengal, the NHRC has flagged "several instances of atrocities", saying it indicates that there was a "violation of human rights" due to "negligence" in the prevention of such incidents.


The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in its report, also observed that the "pervasive fear of reprisal, coupled with the power dynamics at play, acted as a formidable barrier", preventing individuals from voicing their grievances.



The rights panel has made several recommendations and sought an action taken report (ATR) within eight weeks on each of the recommendations made therein from the government of West Bengal, the NHRC said in a statement on Saturday.


"The Commission's spot inquiry has revealed several instances of atrocities inflicted upon the victims, which clearly demonstrate, prima facie, that there was a violation of human rights due to negligence in the prevention of such violation or abatement thereof by the public servant," it said.

The report has been uploaded on the NHRC website for "wider dissemination of information," the statement said.

The Commission has sent its spot inquiry report to the chief secretary and DGP, West Bengal for submitting the ATR.

The NHRC report made an observation that the "atmosphere due to the atrocities by the alleged accused persons rendered the victims silent", and intimidation, and terror made them "reluctant to seek justice".

This "climate of terror" not only "perpetuates the cycle of abuse" but also underscores the urgent need to create a safe and supportive environment for victims to "break free from the shackles of silence", it has observed.

The rights panel has also made an observation that the "atmosphere of fear" not only affects the victims but also has a "negative impact" on the growth and health of the children who constantly witness the ordeals of their parents at the hands of these alleged accused.

On February 21, the NHRC had taken suo motu cognisance of print and electronic media reports that in Sandeshkhali, North 24th Paragana, "innocent and impoverished women have been harassed and sexually assaulted by a group of local gang of a political person".

As a result, for the last few days, local villagers had started protesting, seeking appropriate legal action against the "perpetrators of horrific crimes indulged by various goons and anti-social elements, when the local administration failed to take appropriate legal action against the perpetrators of crime," it added.

In addition to seeking reports from the state government, the Commission, considering the gravity of the situation, had deputed an investigation team for a spot inquiry, headed by one of its members.

The NHRC team also interacted with the police and administration at Sandeshkhali and requested for further information, "but despite reminders, no reply has been given to date", the statement said.

The recommendations given by the NHRC team, include "reinstating trust in the rule of law and confidence in authorities" and ensuring witness protection and redressal of grievances.

Counselling and rehabilitation of victims of sexual offences; return of the land to the legitimate owners; impartial investigation of complaints by central agencies; initiating awareness programmes are other recommendations, it said.

Operationalisation of a nationwide emergency response system (NERS); and vocational training and creating employment opportunities have also been recommended.

Reviving the land to make it suitable for agriculture; improving socio-economic indicators and preparing area-specific plans; appointing special rapporteurs to periodically report on the situation in Sandeshkhali; and investigating cases of missing women or girls from the area of the police station of Sandeshkhali are among the other recommendations.

The Commission has noted that "this incident is also seized by the High Court of Judicature at Calcutta in WPA No.4011 of 2024. It has decided to seek leave from the High Court to intervene in the matter," the statement said.

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