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Jharkhand rights movement writes to NHRC to probe police firing on protesters against thermal project

By Ashok Shrimali*
The Jharkhand Human Rights Movement has asked Satyabrata Pal, member, National Human Rights Commission, to urgently investigate and take "necessary legal action" on police firing, took place at Pagar village comes under Keredari police station of Hazaribagh district in Jharkhand at 1 pm on July 23, 2013, which led to death of Mr. Kesar Mahato and caused several injuries. The letter says, the incident took place when the villagers were protesting against the forced land acquisition by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for the proposed thermal power plant at Keredari. There was a clash between the villagers and the contractors on the issue of land acquisition as the villagers are not willing to surrender their land for the project.
"When contractors started the construction work in the village, the villagers protested against them and in response they contractors attacked the villagers, and when they went to the police station to file complaint the police took side of the contractors, which fueled the anger of the villagers", the letter reads.
"Consequently, the villagers started protest against the police, and in response to the villagers, the police fired on the crowd, which led to death of Kesar Mahato and caused severe injuries to several people. The injured persons were Ramesh Mahato Gajju Mahato, Rahul Kumar, Tulsi Mahato, Makhan Verma and Bhuneswar Ram.
Calling it a "clear case of gross violation of right to a dignified life of the victims guaranteed under the Article 21 of the Indian Constitution", the letter, written by Gladson Dungdung, General Secretary, JHRM, Ranchi, requests the NHRC for the following actions:
1. A high level investigation should be done on the case of police firing, which led to death of Kesar Mahato and caused several injuries.
2. A case should be filed under section 302 and others against the police officers and police personal, who were involved in the police firing.
3. A legal action should be taken against the police officers and police personal, who were involved in the police firing and suspended immediately.
4. A case should be also filed against the contractors and the officer-in-charge of the Keredari police station who took side of the contractors.
5. The family members of Kesar Mahato should be compensated with Rs 15 lakh along with a government job as he was the main earning person in the family.
6. The injured victims should be compensated with Rs 5 lakh each and the Government should provide them free medical support.
7. The land acquisition should be immediately withdrawn from the village.
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* Ashok Shrimali is a Gujarat-based human rights activist

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