CURTAIN RAISER: NHRC's Open Hearing and Camp Sitting at Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh on the 25th May, 2018 (23.05.2018)

New Delhi, 23rd May, 2018

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC will be holding its Camp Sitting and Open Hearing at Dorjee Khandu Convention Centre, Indira Gandhi Park, Itanagar, Aruanachal Pradesh on the 25th May, 2018. NHRC Chairperson, Mr. Justice H.L. Dattu will inaugurate it at 10.00 am.

Thereafter, the Commission will take up 57 cases in three Benches between 11.00 AM and 12.30 PM to hear the grievances of aggrieved people and the problems they face in seeking justice from the Government agencies in the presence of the concerned authorities, who have been asked to remain present at the time of hearing of cases. The Bench-I shall be presided over by Justice Dattu. NHRC Members, Mr. Justice P.C. Ghose and Mr. Justice D. Murugesan will preside over the Bench-II and Bench-III respectively.

Public notices were published in national and local dailies in the State of Arunachal Pradesh inviting complaints for public hearing at Itanagar on the problems and grievances of schedules castes and scheduled tribes from the persons belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, who have a complaint of atrocity committed by a public servant or of negligence by a public servant in the prevention of atrocity.

In response to the public notices, the Commission received 14 complaints. The Commission has also decided to take up the matters, which were to be taken up earlier in its Open Hearing and Camp Sitting scheduled to be held on the 25th April, 2017 but could not materialize due to the bad weather. It will also take up for hearing some other important cases pertaining to the state of Arunachal Pradesh, which are already under its consideration.

After the hearing of the cases, the Commission will hold a meeting with NGOs and Human Rights Defenders on human rights issues affecting the people of Arunachal Pradesh at the same venue from 12.30 PM. This will be followed by a media briefing by the Chairperson and Members of the Commission about the outcome of the Open Hearing as well as discussions with the NGOs and Human Rights Defenders of the State for wider dissemination of information on the human rights issues and action taken by the NHRC for their protection and promotion.
Thereafter, the Commission will hold discussions with the Chief Secretary, DGP, DMs, SPs and other senior civil, police and jail officers of the State on the issues raised by the NGOs at the same venue from 01.30 to 02.30 P.M. The following issues are also likely to be taken up during discussion with senior officers of the State Government:

1. Atrocities on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and other depressed sections of society.

2. Suffering of Chakma and Hajong people, residing in the State of Arunachal Pradesh.

3. The status of Health - primary health care and the applicability of National Rural Health Mission, NRHM.

4. Dilapidated conditions of roads, power supply etc in SUBANSIRI DISTRICT, Lack of motorable road in Upper Siang district, roads in Itanagar and approach road to Itanagar.

5. Non-implementation of the Right to Education Act.

6. Lack of basic amenities for the villagers at Indo-China border.

7. Increase in suicide cases and lack of mental health care centres.

8. Public Distribution System.

9. Scarcity of drinking water in Debing village in East Siang district

10. Delay in submission of compliance reports and other reports to the NHRC.

11. Conditions in Jail, health care, overcrowding and denial of facilities.

12. Implementation of Central Govt. flagship programmes.

Since its inception, the Commission has been actively engaged in protection and promotion of the rights of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Apart from taking cognizance suo-motu and on complaints relating to atrocities against Scheduled Castes, the Commission has also engaged key stakeholders on the issue; published booklets; and held training programmes and workshops aimed at sensitizing various stakeholders on the issue so as to eliminate atrocities, discrimination, and any other form of violation of their human rights.

The Commission, being deeply concerned about the atrocities against persons belonging to Scheduled Castes, requested Shri K.B. Saxena, IAS (Retd.) to carry out a study in this regard and suggest appropriate recommendations. Accordingly, Shri Saxena undertook the study and submitted his comprehensive and detailed report. This report is available on the website of Commission i.e. Among the recommendations Mr. Saxena made was one that the Commission organise at least one open hearing a year "where the victims of major atrocities can present their experiences and grievances in seeking justice from Government agencies and human rights bodies/non-governmental organizations/social workers and activists may apprise the Commission of difficulties encountered by them in taking up their complaints. In the interaction with the State Government subsequent to the hearing, the Commission may convey its observations and advice on various actions to be taken for effective enforcement of law, sustaining confidence of victims and, where required, looking into the conduct of officials coming in for adverse reference during the hearing. The follow up action on the hearings may be monitored."

So far, such Open Hearings have been held in a number of States including Bihar, Odisha, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and at Chandigarh for the States of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, UT of Chandigarh and Jharkhand.

In the past, the NHRC has also organised its Camp Sittings in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bengaluru (for four southern States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu), Bihar, Odisha, Gujarat, Assam, Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Chandigarh (for the States of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and UT of Chandigarh) and Hyderabad for the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.