Skip to main content

Gujarat only state "not accepting" NHRC recommendations, whether it's 2002 riots or deadly silicosis

Agate industry causing silicosis

By Our Representative
A senior National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) official has come down heavily on the Gujarat government for failing to act on some its crucial recommendations, even as stating that other states have implemented them in “99.5 per cent of cases” – whether it was the untimely death workers because of deadly silicosis, an occupational disease, or the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Talking about silicosis deaths, which occurred over the years, the official took strong exception to the Gujarat government unwilling to provide compensation to 238 victims of working mainly in stone polishing work in Dahod, a tribal district, but belonging to Madhya Pradesh, and another five silicosis deaths in Khamhat in Anand district of Central Gujarat.
In an answer a question at a press conference in the office of Gujarat's top gender rights organization, Ahmedabad Women's Action Group (AWAG), Anil Kumar Parashar, joint registrar, NHRC, said, while NHRC was a purely recommendatory body, with no judicial powers, “in most of the cases, states have complied with whatever it suggests to them.”
Parashar was speaking about how, even half-a-decade after it had asked the Gujarat government to pay Rs 3 lakh to each of the Dahod silicosis victims and Rs 5 lakh to the Khambhat silicosis victims, the state has “failed to act.” He was answering the question whether he thought HHRC was a “toothless body.”
“On finding that the state government is not in a mood to act, we have decided to knock the doors of the Supreme Court ensure that the silicosis victims get justice”, Parashar said, adding, “It is an accepted norm across by now to pay compensation, yet it is difficult to say why the state government is not acting.”
Parashar's strong stance on Gujarat came after PTRC's Jagdish Patel, also present at the press conference, pointed to how the state government was refusing to pay compensation to silicosis victims. “The state government has been forwarding spurious arguments. It says, how does one know whether the workers had died of silicosis in Gujarat alone”, Patel said.
Answering another question what did he have to say about the Gujarat government's refusal to implement NHRC recommendations on the 2002 communal riots, and if this also did not suggest the NHRC did not have teeth, Parashar said, “While the riots are not under my purview, it is true that we were forced to approach the Supreme Court. Rest is all well known to everyone, and I don't want to add more.”
Parashar was in Gujarat as part of NHRC preparations for organizing six-month-long public hearings on right to health in public and private health sector, to take place over the next six months in Mumbai, Chennai, Raipur, Guwahati, Lucknow and Chandigarh. NHRC will be holding public hearings in association with Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), an all-India health advocacy group.
The Gujarat NGOs which are in direct contact with NHRC for the public hearing, apart from AWAG, Anandi another gender rights group, and People's Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara – all members of JSA. PTRC has been working with the victims of silicosis, especially in Khambhat, for decades.
Briefing newspersons about the public hearing, Parashar suggested that refusal to take complaints against the private sector is a major NHRC weakness.
The NHRC insisted, “The law clearly states all complaints made to us have to be necessarily against government officials. But, we find that complaints against private sector involvement in the health sector are piling up. If we get more evidence during the pubic hearing, we will certainly ask the Government of India to change the law.”

Comments

TRENDING

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Report on "torture" in Kashmir jails: 44% detainees stripped naked, 29% electrocuted

Counterview Desk
A recent report titled “Torture: Indian State’s Instrument of Control in Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir”, published by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), has claimed to build “on the body of human rights documentation on torture” in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) through an examination of 432 case studies. It seeks to focus on "the trends and patterns, targets, perpetrators, contexts and impact of torture" in the state.

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Bullet train impact report Japan agency property: Govt of India tells Gujarat NGO

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has told Gujarat-based environmental organization, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) that the detailed report of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representatives on their visit to Gujarat and Maharashtra assess the impact of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project on farmers is not its property, but that of JICA.

NHSRCL letter to PSS, signed by activists Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant and Swati Desai, comes following the latter’s request to it on June 10 for the report. PSS was one of the NGOs that represented JICA on the project, saying, if implemented, it would adversely impact farmers, even as pointing towards the fact that the project itself is unviable and Indian Railways needs to invest, instead, more on upgrading the present railway infrastructure.
Following the NHSRCL reply, PSS has shot a second letter to JICA, insisting that the latter should share a copy of the report, even as providing details of the …

Karma tribal festival an occasional to campaign for tribal rights: IPMSDL

By Our Representative
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), in a solidarity statement has suggested that the current Karam festival of Central India -- which seeks to promote sisterhood, friendship, cultural unity, and closer link to nature -- should be the occasion to campaign against alleged efforts to violently drive away forest dwelling communities from their forest homes.
"Millions are threatened to lose lands and livelihood under the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006", the statement States, adding, "As corporate interests continues to enter tribal territories and extract profit from its natural resources, indigenous people are pushed to further marginalization and discrimination."
Asserting that indigenous movement in India "remains steadfast in keeping their culture, deeply linked to their lands alive by carrying out their heritage and struggles", IPMSDL, even as extending "…

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Amidst Modi celebrations, thousands protest 'massive' submergence in Narmada Valley

By Our Representative
Thousands of women and men gathered on at the Shaheed Stambh in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, to raise their voice against what they called "the destruction of the Narmada Valley", protesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat BJP rulers for celebrating the Sardar Sarovar dam being filled up to the full reservoir level (FRL) on September 17, which also happens to be Modi's birthday.
Calling it a black day for the people of the Valley, whose villages and farms got submerged because of highest-ever water level having been achieved in the dam, the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which organised the parallel rally across the border with Gujarat, regretted in a statement that Modi's celebration at the dam took place amidst " martyrdom of the Valley".
The demonstration in Badwani was preceded by a vehicles rally, which took rounds of the city streets. They were joined by people from several villages of Dhar district. They gather…

Kandla Port Trust activities 'destroyed' mangroves, affecting rare camel species: NGT

By Rajiv Shah
Taking serious note of large-scale destruction of mangroves on about 750 acres in Bhachau taluka of Kutch district, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Delhi, has “directed” the Gujarat government, its forest department, and the Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority (GSZMA), to “jointly inspect the area” and fix responsibility as to who is “responsible for obstruction of the creeks” next to the Kandla Port Trust (KPT), leading to the damage to the plantations in the area.

Narmada valley: SC notice to Gujarat, MP, M'rashtra on submergence sans rehabilitation

By Our Representative
Thr Supreme Court has issued notice to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments following a Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA)-backed petition seeking the explanation as to whether large areas of Narmada Valley have gone into submergence by filling up the Sardar Sarovar dam up to the full reservoir level (FRL) without rehabilitating the project affected families (PAFs).