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India: No to Farcical Enquiries; Shame on the NHRC for its Partisanship

by Jamia Teachers Solidarity Group, 23 July 2009

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[22 July 2009]

Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Group rejects the NHRC’s report on the Batla House ‘encounter’, which gives a clean chit to the Delhi Police. The NHRC claims that on the basis of the “material placed before us, it cannot be said that there has been any violation of human rights by the actions of police”. Indeed, we would like to know what material was placed before the NHRC for inspection. The NHRC enquiry into the case, one will remember, came far too late, and that too at the insistence of the High Court. For months, the NHRC refused to take any initiative to independently enquire into the ‘encounter’ which several civil rights groups, including JTSG, deemed suspect. The NHRC enquiry was carried out in an inexplicably secret manner; even applications by residents of Azamgarh to depose before the Commission were not acknowledged by the NHRC. If people of Azamgarh, the family members of the accused and killed boys, civil rights groups
who have been working and campaigning on the issue were never heard by the Commission, we wonder what was the material that was placed before the Commission. It appears that NHRC, like the Lieutenant Governor prior to this, was satisfied by hearing the police version alone. The JTSG Report, Encounter at Batla House: Unanswered Questions, a damning indictment of the police version had been submitted to the Commission earlier this year. By ignoring all contrary voices, the NHRC has proved itself to be a brazenly partisan body, and damaged its own standing and independent credibility.In its bid to carry out the dictats of the State, the NHRC even chose to forgot that the Delhi Police had consistently violated even its own guidelines about encounter killings. Worse still, a body which is supposed to act in the interests of the human rights of the country’s citizens, pronounces that an ‘encounter’ did not involve any human rights violation only tells us about its flawed and distorted understanding of human rights and subverts the very basis of its guidelines.

Sd/-Manisha Sethi and Adeel Mehdi on behalf of the JTSG