Response to SICHREM’s Complaint

August 30, 2013

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Response 1.

Letter received (Ref No: CM/42218/REP- GEN/2013 dated 29-07-2013) from the Karnataka Chief Minister’s Office forwarding the representation filed by R. Manohar, Head of Programs, SICHREM for further action to the Principal Secretary, Dept. of Law, Bangalore.

The representation filed is in reference to SICHREM’s demands pertaining to 26th June the UN Day Support of the victims of Torture.

Link: https://sichrem.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/press-release-3/

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Response 2.

Letter received (Ref No: MMAKSS/AK/250/2013 dated 05-08-2013) from the Minister of Women and Child Development, Differently abled and senior citizens empowerment, Kannada and culture forwarding the representation filed by R. Manohar, Head of Programs, SICHREM for further action to the Principal Secretary, Dept. of Women and Child Welfare, Bangalore.

The representation filed is in reference to SICHREM’s complaint regarding the death of Meghala 6 year old due to malnutrition in DJ Halli, Bangalore.

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Response 3.

Letter received (Ref No: CM/45392/REP- GEN/2013 dated 12-08-2013) from the Karnataka Chief Minister’s Office forwarding the representation filed by R. Manohar, Head of Programs, SICHREM for further action to the Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Dept.,  Bangalore.

The representation filed is in reference to SICHREM’s complaint regarding the death of Meghala 6 year old due to malnutrition in DJ Halli, Bangalore.


Protest against proposed Amendment to RTI Act to exempt political parties from its purview.

August 16, 2013

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Seminar on Status and Rights of Minorities

August 13, 2013

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Human rights? All left out

August 8, 2013

If safeguarding the rights of people, especially minorities and women, makes for good governance, then the plight of state’s watchdogs paints a sorry picture.

The government bodies set up to look after human rights, and rights of women and minorities are lying headless, and therefore toothless and defanged, for quite some time.

Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC), Karnataka State Commission for Women (KSCW) and Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation (KMDC) do not have anybody at the helm. It means these bodies cannot either look into the complaints of rights violation or make recommendations to the government to punish the culprit.

Sorry state of KSHRC

The KSHRC comprises a chairperson and two members.

The body cannot investigate complaints of human rights violation or take any action without the nod of its chairperson. Its previous chairperson, Justice (Retd) SR Nayak, retired on July 25 past year.

One of the two members, RH Raddi, retired two days after Justice Nayak and the other, B Parthasarathy, retired on March 2 past year. The government replaced the two members (appointing Justice Hunagunda and Meera Saxena) only on November 21. The post of the chairperson is still vacant. It has reduced the KSHRC to just a complaint-receiving body.

In 2012, the KSHRC referred 67 cases of human rights violation to the state government. The government, however, decided to act only in 20 cases. As on June 30 this year, the human rights body had a backlog of 14,410 complaints.

Reportedly, one of the two new members of the commission, Saxena, is not well versed in Kannada. R Manohar, director (project), South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (Sichrem), said people have intimated him about Saxena’s language issue. He said the government should appoint only those people to the KSHRC who have thorough knowledge about human rights.

He rued that the commission does not have a chairperson for a year now. He said many cases of human rights violation have taken place in the state in this period. He gave the example of Lakshmi Devi, a housemaid who died recently after setting herself afire, blaming the city police for torturing her to confess to stealing from her employer’s house.

Women’s woes

While the human rights commission is lying headless for a year, the women’s commission is without someone at the helm for six months now. Previous chairperson of the KSWC, C Manjula, quit on February 1 this year. The post is lying vacant since then. In this situation, the body can only counsel the victims who approach them.

The secretary of the KSWC, Kavitha S Mannikeri, said she is with the women’s commission on deputation for the past three months. She said that they are referring complaints to the department concerned for action as, without a chairperson, they do not have the mandate to take a decision.

She said that she herself has been juggling the two official roles she has—one at the KSWC and one as the joint director of child welfare department—on an everyday basis.

Minority report

The KMDC too has gone quiet ever since its previous chairman, Anwar Manippady, stepped down owing to political compulsions. During his tenure, he had exposed people who had encroached wakf properties worth crores of rupees.

Shaik Latheef, KMDC secretary, said that as the organisation is without a chairperson, it cannot take up any survey to tell if the government’s schemes for minorities’ welfare are being implemented. Also, the body cannot make recommendations to the government if it notices some anomaly.

Manippady told dna that the government should appoint a chairperson to the corporation at the earliest. He alleged that some people were working against the KMDC. He said many politicians had encroached wakf properties worth crores of rupees.

 

Source : DNA, Bangalore – 8th August 2013.


Complaint of Lalith Kumar’s harassment and assault driving him to commit suicide by the police personnel of Talaghattapura Police Station.

June 11, 2013

Dated: 4th June 2013

 

To

Additional Director General of Police,(ADGP)

Grievances and Human Rights,

Office of DG & IG of Police

Bangalore-560001

 

Dear Sir,

Subject: Complaint of Lalith Kumar’s harassment and assault driving him to commit suicide by the police personnel of Talaghattapura Police Station.

The Bangalore Mirror dated Monday, June 03, 2013 reports that, V Lalith Kumar, a student of Silicon City Educational Academy Pre-University College near Konanakunte, ended his life last Tuesday by hanging from the ceiling of his house in JP Nagar, Phase VII around 4 pm. Earlier in the day, he was allegedly beaten up by Talaghattapura cops at a playground near his house. Later, a crime constable allegedly met Lalith at his house and threatened to arrest him. His mother was at home, father was away at work.

Lalith’s family is scared of the consequences of accusing the police of driving Lalith to commit suicide. The Ramanagaram SP, Ida Martin Marbaniang, has said that in February, Lalith’s friend Sushma had committed suicide and he was accused of abetting her suicide and her parents had registered a case against him and to inquire about the case crime constable Shravan Kumar had visited.

A relative has questioned, that even if a crime had been committed, police had no right to threaten him or beat him and also as he is a minor, they should have informed his family about the complaint and further stated that they abused their power against the boy. 

We file this complaint with a hope that a detailed enquiry into the whole matter is initiated;

  1. To look into the assault of Lalith Kumar resulting in the suicide,
  2. To immediately call for the suspension of the concerned officials pending enquiry.
  3. To also order for police protection to Lalith and family, so that there is no backlash from the policemen on whom allegations are being made.

Note: The undersigned has contacted Lalith’s family for a fact finding mission for recording the statements, the report would be filed with your good offices shortly.

Thanking you,

Yours Truly,                                                                                                                      

R.Manohar

Head – Programs


Complaint of Judicial Death of Naveen Poojari (43), under trial in Mangalore.

June 11, 2013

Dated: 5th June 2013

 

The Member

Karnataka State Human Rights Commission

4th Floor, 5th Phase,

M.S.Building, Bangalore- 560001                                           

Dear Madam / Sir,

Subject: Complaint of Judicial Death of Naveen Poojari (43), under trial in Mangalore. 

The Prajavani and Vijaya Karnataka dated June 5th 2013; report in their columns the information of the death of Naveen Poojari aged 43years old cooly resident of Kumpal Ashraya Colony in Mangalore while he was in judicial custody at the Sub-jail.

An under-trial, Naveen Poojari was picked up the Ullal Police on 20th May 2013 when he was found allegedly suspiciously moving about in the night. It is stated, that on 1st of June he had fever and was given treatment and did not find any thing serious. On Monday, he was produced at the court and on Tuesday he was not in a position to have breakfast and two other under-trials were also unwell. By afternoon, Naveen’s condition turned very serious and died en-route being moved to Wenlock Hospital.

The paper further reports that the family had not been informed of his arrest and being jailed and only after his death were they informed.

We file this complaint with a hope that a detailed enquiry into the whole matter is initiated, and that your good offices look into the circumstances, especially;

  1. To look into the exact causes of the death,
  2. The functions and the maintenance of the prison,
  3. Whether there are medical personnel & facilities available for treatment at the jail?
  4. Whether there was a failure on part of the jail personnel, doctors in the treatment?
  5. To Specifically to look into the allegations of the violations of the Guidelines laid down by the Honorable Supreme Court of India in D.K.Basu vs. State Of West Bengal and the guidelines laid down by the NHRC/SHRC on :
  • A). To find out who were the police personnel who handled the interrogation and arrest of Naveen, If, the memo of arrest was prepared, with time and date of arrest and who was the family member or the respectable person of the locality  who attested the arrest memo? And, if it was counter signed by Naveen?
  • B). If the police have informed Naveen, that he had a right and could inform a relative, friend or well-wisher as soon as possible, of the arrest and the place of detention or custody. If, yes? Who is the friend and how did they send the information to the family or relatives?, which is to be  notified by police within 8 to 12 hours after arrest by a telegram/ through the District Legal Aid Authority and the concerned police station.
  • C).If, an entry has been made in the Station Diary about the arrest, name of the person informed and name and particulars of the police in whose custody he was?
  • D).If, Naveen had access to exercise his right of meeting a lawyer during the          interrogation? If, yes, who was he and what happened?
  • E).If the arresting officer has informed the police control room within 12 hours the       information regarding the arrest and the place of custody?
  1. To inquire further if the procedures and guidelines laid down by the NHRC in its letter No.66/SG/NHRC/93 dated 14 December 1993 on reporting custodial deaths and also with reference to the letter vide No 40/3/95/LD dated 21 June 1995 has been adhered & followed ?
  2. To inquire,if the guidelines laid by NHRC, as per letter addressed by the Chairperson to the Chief ministers vide letter dated 10th August, 1995 on the video filming of post-mortem examinations in cases of custodial deaths has been followed?
  3. To also inquire, if the guidelines laid down by the NHRC, as per the letter addressed by the Chairperson to the Chief Ministers vide letter No.NHRC/ID/PM/96/57 dated 27th March 1997.

Thanking you,

Yours Truly,

R.Manohar

Head – Programs                                                        


No head for Human Rights Commission in Karnataka since 10 months

June 5, 2013

Bangalore – With ten months going to be over, the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission has continued to work without the head.  The post of Chairperson is remaining unfilled since the retirement of Justice SR Nayak from the post on 25 July 2012.

Occupied with the internal crisis of the party, the BJP led Government could not appoint the new head for the significant statutory body; whereas, the new Congress government is yet to come out of the celebration mood post victory in assembly elections. However, the new chairperson cannot be appointed without the consultation with other Constitutional bodies.

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The Chairperson shall be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Committee comprising the Chief Minister as chairperson, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Minister in-charge of the Department of Home, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, Chairman of Legislative Council and the leader opposition in the Council.

Only 1972 cases were disposed by the Commission between the period of August 2012 and March 2013, while the total numbers of registered cases stand for 3785. 1814 complaints of human rights violation remain pending.

Along-with the retirement of the Justice SR Nayak, two members-RH Reddy and B Parthasarathi –  of the Commission were also retired. The then BJP Government appointed – a retired IAS officer Meera Saksena and  Justice Chandrashekar Gurubasappa Hungund- as the  new members of the Commission in November 2012. 

Only after these appointments, the functioning of the Commission gained momentum for some extent. But, the cases registered from August 2012 to December 2012 are still pending.

No secretary:

While the post of Secretary remains a significant position for any institution, the KSHRC has no exclusive secretary since one and half year.

While the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2006 says that the State Government shall make available to the Commission an officer not below the rank of a Secretary to the State Government who shall be the Secretary of the State Commission; the then BJP government has assigned this additional charge of the Secretary to the IGP (Investigation) of the KSHRC, Sunil Agrawal.

13000 plus cases pending:

Since the inception of the Commission in July 2007, a total of 39271 cases of human rights violations have been registered till 31 March 2013. While 25677 cases were disposed off, 13594 cases remain pending.  The registered cases include both from the public and the suo moto cases based on the media reports.

Website not updated:

With last updation on 24 February 2012, the website of the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission says that ‘Site is under maintenance mode and hence minimum links are operational’.

Rights activists unhappy:

This is very unfortunate to see the Government’s inability to appoint a head to the prominent commission of the state, said Manohar Ranganathan of South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM).

Referring the raise in various kinds of human rights violations – communalism, casteism, police atrocities, and economical disparities, he urged the newly formed Government to appoint the Chairperson to the Commission at the earliest.

We have already drafted a letter to the Chief Minister and the Law minister; we would soon meet them and draw their attention in this regard, he said.

Consultative Core Committee scrapped:

In last June, the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) under the chairmanship of Justice SR Nayak had formed a Consultative Core Committee that comprised 21 civil society members or NGOs, to interact with KSHRC from time to time regarding violations of human rights and its enforcement in the state.

But, in last April, the Commission has scrapped the Consultative Core Committee saying that the committee is not “serving its purpose”.

Source : Newzfirst, 24th May 2013