Orissa asked to improve human rights situation

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NEW DELHI - After taking up all the pending cases in a two-day sitting in Orissa Jan 18-19, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has given a list of recommendations to the state government for the overall improvement in the human rights situation.

According to a statement Wednesday, the commission took up a total of 62 pending cases in the state during the visit by a team led by its chairperson K.G. Balakrishnan.

The hearing was attended by Orissa’a chief secretary, principle secretaries and other state officials.

The commission asked the state government to submit a detailed report on the Kandhamal violence and a contingency plan to deal with such situations in the future.

Kandhamal, about 200 km from Bhubaneswar, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides in his ashram Aug 23, 2008.

At least 38 people were killed and more than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by mobs, who accused Christians for killing Saraswati, although police had blamed the Maoists.

Regarding steel projects by Tata and Posco, the commission directed the state government to submit a comprehensive report on rehabilitation and compensation status of the displaced persons.

While asking for “immediate action” against officials guilty of human rights violations, the commission directed the state government to send regular reports so that the NHRC can dispose cases quickly.

The commission also directed the state government to depute an officer to be present before it March 21 with the status report on the implementation of the recommendations, the statement said.

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