Rights panel condemned for not probing Orissa violence


New Delhi : A human rights NGO Wednesday condemned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for failing to send an investigation team to the riot-hit areas of Orissa.

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“NHRC has failed to fulfil its legal and moral obligation for the protection and promotion of human rights,” said Suhas Chakma, Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) director, in a letter to the NHRC chairman Justice S. Rajendra Babu.

“The existence of NHRC has increasingly come to mean wastage of national resources to shield the state authorities for their acts of commissions and omissions on human rights,” Chakma claimed.

“Yet NHRC has failed to issue any public statement either to condemn the killing or visit the strife-torn areas to improve the situation of the victims, in particular, those who have been displaced,” Chakma said in his letter.

“The perfunctory notice issued by the NHRC to the state government of Orissa – which has been suppressing the actual status of grave situation including the number of deaths – to submit a report is scandalous, considering the scale of violence against Christians,” the letter said.

ACHR has urged the NHRC to immediately send an investigation team to Orissa to inquire into killings in Orissa, improve the conditions of the displaced persons and take other necessary measures for prosecution of the culprits.

The violence erupted in Orissa after Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and four others were killed by unidentified gunmen at his ashram in Kandhamal district Aug 23.

The police said that Maoists were responsible for the killing. But blaming Christians for the murders, thousands of Hindus attacked Christian homes and churches. Communal strife has claimed 16 lives so far.