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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Here is a big shocker for Odisha. The State figures in the top-5 human rights violator states in the country, and when it comes to violations of rights by the men in uniform, Odisha makes it into the dubious-15 states nationally.

The howler is at least in around 70 per cent of the cases, the State administration has emerged as the rights violator. The details show two major State institutions that violate human rights are: cops and doctors.

And the charges are: illegal detention and torture against cops, denial of proper treatment to patients by doctors, denial of bed by hospital staff to patients suffering with grave disease conditions.

SAMPLE THE RECENT INSTANCES

February 2021: Chitrakonda Police had picked up four boys on February 12 in connection with a robbery case. Legally, they had to be forwarded to the court within 24 hours but they were subjected to brutal torture at the police station, alleged the family members.

The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has taken suo moto cognisance of the incident and filed a case in this connection. The commission directed the Malkangiri SP to submit a report by March 30.

November 2020: The Commission found cops guilty of custodial torture in two separate cases. The Rights Panel imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh in IO (Investigating Officer) of Paikamal (Bargarh) Police station. The Rights body recommended departmental action against a woman cop in Patna (Keonjhar district).

November 2020: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recommended payment of compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the family members of Mini Pradhan, an ASHA worker from Daringbadi health center under Kandhamal District, as she died four years ago, due to lack of ambulance, road, and mobile connectivity.

NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION MAP

As per the data available with National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) till January this year (2020-21), a high of 229 complaints had been registered against the cops in the State for violating human rights. The State is ranked at 11th in the country.

However, the NHRC data shows that with 2,582 complaints of violation of human rights till the end of January this year, Odisha figures at the 5th rank in the country .  The NHRC disposal rate in the state stood at around 84 per cent

ODISHA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION CHARTS

As per the latest data available with the OHRC, the State rights body had registered over 3100 complaints regarding violation of human rights in Odisha last year (2020). Data shows, except April 2020, rights violations shot up even during lockdown period.

Data analysis brings to the fore a big blooper

Nearly one-fourth of the victims in the rights violation cases in the State were women, whereas cases pertaining to caste discrimination in Odisha also account a sizeable chunk of total rights violation. And bonded labour and violation of labour rights together constitute another over 5-8 per cent of total complaints.

The worrying statistics to the fore is pendency of rights violation cases in the OHRC was up by around 20 per cent in 2020. Sources at OHRC informed that the pendency in the State is clocking at over 15 per cent per year. When it comes to the disposal rate in OHRC, the rate last year stood at around 67 per cent.

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

WHO IS TO BLAME?

Human rights organisations blame the State Government solely as they allege lack of effective emphasis on rights-based governance coupled with a high degree of politicisation of police force have ignited such a flagrant violation of rights in Odisha. Rights activists further allege that police in State are not following the standard operating procedures and guidelines while arresting individuals, especially in tribal districts.

“In order to prevent the rising cases of violation of human rights, the onus lies on the State government. The government has to adopt rights-based governance model. In such model, the state machinery will give precedence to human rights, which is not the case now. And as it is the government who is the major violator of human rights, this will have a salutary impact on rights violation cases in the State,” observed seasoned rights activist Radhakant Tripathy.

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