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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: On the occasion of National Human Rights Day today, the stunning blow is  Odisha has emerged as the number three in human rights violations in the country in 2019-20.

Significantly, when the Odisha government is high on Mo Sarkar and 5T, the seemingly disconcerting home-truth revealed is dissatisfied over Odisha government's action taken report (ATR) regarding involvement of DMET (Director of Medical Education & Training) officials in a sensitive case like Kidney transplantation racket, the NHRC on August 2019 recommended payment of Rs 2 lakh compensation to a victim from Bargarh.

In the given context, the obvious fact then is Odisha with a high share of 9.4 per cent of the total monetary relief recommended by the national rights body in year 2018, finished the dubious number two state in country.

And the monetary relief amount to victims is not a minnow, in its full bench sitting between 16th June - 5th July this year, the top rights body has recommended a massive Rs 15.5 lakh to victims in Odisha.

Interestingly, the human rights violators are none other than the officials of State government belonging to departments ranging from health to police  

As per the latest data available with NHRC, the apex rights body has registered a total of 2,736 rights violation cases from Odisha till date this year. And it has disposed around 2,148 such cases. The disposal rate stood at a healthy 78 per cent.

Similarly, as per the data available with Odisha State Human Rights Commission, till December 12, 2019, the State rights body has recorded a total of 2,083 additional rights violation cases.

While the proportion of cases dismissed in limine (means at the appeal stage or simply say at the outset) stood at 62 per cent, the disposal with directions stood at mere around 4 per cent. Simultaneously, the pendency at SHRC stood at 13,559 by November end from 10,912 in 2015-16.

The SHRC data reveals that rights violation of women is 2nd in total rights violation cases registered in the State in 2019. However, rights violation cases against police/paramilitary forces top the rights violation cases filed in the State.

Human rights organisations blame the State Government for the spike in pendency, because, of a total sanctioned strength of 69, the vacancy in SHRC stood at around 20 till date.

They further allege that Odisha government hardly gives emphasis on rights-based governance, and with the high degree of politicisation of police force, rights violation cases show a quantum jump since 2015-16.

An analysis of the SHRC data further suggests that rights violations by anti social elements figured among the top-5 rights violators in State, which makes a telling comment on state's law & order in general. Moreover, cases of bonded labour, violation of labour rights together constitute another over 5-8 per cent of total rights violation cases, suggest the combined data of NHRC. Rights violation cases against jail authorities and pollution also take a sizeable load.

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