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Ahead of Gujarat Dalit atrocity cases hearing, NHRC told: State officials failed to respond to 30 "listed" complaints

By Our Representative
In what is being considered as a clear case of failure to investigate anti-atrocity cases, a senior Dalit rights activist has revealed that, in a laegre number of cases, Gujarat government officials have been refusing to send replies required by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking reports on progress made in bringing culprit to books. Some of the cases are as old as 2013, while others are more recent, of 2018.
Listing 30 cases which he filed before NHRC, ranging from murder and rape to social boycott and forced migration, the activist, Kantibhai U Parmar, in a representation to NHRC chairman HL Dattu, visiting Gujarat on April 26-27 for an open hearing session, has said, the officials who failed to respond to NHRC queries should be asked to remain present at the Police Academy, Karai, off Gandhinagar, Gujarat capital, where the hearing is proposed.
Of the 30 cases listed, claims Parmar, the only issue to be taken up at the "open hearing" is regarding the complaint to the principal secretary, education, Gujarat government, which alleges that there no representative of SC/ST community in any of the committees of the Gujarat education board. In this case, NHRC has directed the senior official to remain present with reply at the open hearing at Karai along with the requisite report.
Parmar has written the letter in response to an NHRC communique, posted on its website, which asks all those who have raised problems and grievances of scheduled castes and tribes (SC and ST) regarding atrocities committed by a public servant or of negligence by them, to send their complaints in advance, so that these could be taken up at the open hearing, to be chaired by Dattu.
Kantilal Parmar
The list prepared by Parmar and sent to Dattu includes 14 about which he had lodged complaints to NHRC in 2017, eight this year, while the rest between 2013 and 2016. In each of these complaints, Parmar says, while NHRC is found to have sought answers from concerned officials, the officials have have failed to respond on what action, if at all, they have taken, as demanded by NHRC.
Parmar's list includes the case of the death of a manhole worker due to suffocation of October 2013 in which the NHRC had sought report from the district police chief, Gandhinagar, within four weeks, and yet there is no response even though five years have passed. In 2017, following a similar incident of manhole death of Dharmesh and Anil Purabiya in Sector 19, Gandhinagar, NHRC had sought report from the district collector and police chief, yet they have not responded.
Things were found to be not very different in the case of manhole death of Jasubhai Gangdiya in Vejalpur's Ashapura Society,Ahmedabad. Despite the fact that NHRC had sought action taken report from the Commissioner of Police and the Municipal Commissioner, Ahmedabad, none of them have responded even though a year has passed. Similarly, there is no response following the death of four sanitary workers in safety tank in Jetpur, Rajkot district.
Then, there is the case of forced migration of a family in 2015, on which the Amreli district police chief was asked to send report, again within four weeks, yet there is no response, though three years have passed. The family was forced to migrate following the rape of a minor Dalit girl, says Parmar, and the Amreli authorities were asked as to how much time it would take for them to respond, and whether the matter has been examined at all.
The situation, Parmar's list shows, is the same with regard to another forced migration case of Patan district, or of Botad district, where Dalits faced social boycott and forced migration from village Malpur, or of social boycott of Dalits in Mehsana district.
NHRC chairman Dattu
Other cases listed include death of eight Dalits due to gas bottle blast in Amreli district,death of 20 children in Asarva Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad, due to "negligence" of doctors; and of Jiviben, a native of Kutch district, who also died allegedly due to doctors' negligence in Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad.
Parmar also lists case of suicide by a midday meal scheme administrator because of harassment by school teachers in Mehsana district; murder of a Dalit youth in Porbandar district; death of Jigneshbhai Sondhrva in an Amreli district jail; Bharat Gohel burnt alive in Veraval in Gir-Somnath district; and murder of a Dalit youth Mihir Kanubhai Jadav in Ahmedabad district.
The cases listed further include Dalits' failure access to food from public distribution system in Chanch Bandar village in Rajula, Amreli district; harassment of retired teacher Gangaben Somabhai Rathava, who had sought clearance of papers regarding pension from Chhota Udepur district education authorities; and refusal to permit Dalit village chief to hoist national flag in a Saurashtra village.

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