Saturday, August 30, 2008

NHRC under a cloud

The Salwa Judum case in the Supreme Court has taken a curious turn with the petitioners questioning the impartiality of the NHRC, which was asked by the Supreme Court to submit a report on human rights violations by the Salwa Judum. One of the petitioners, Nandini Sundar, has referred to a recent story in Economic Times as the basis for her apprehensions that the NHRC's report to the Supreme Court, submitted on August 26, may not be objective. She said in a press release: "The leaking of the report to Economic Times clearly amounts to contempt of court. More disturbingly, the fact that the report was most likely leaked by the respondents - who should not have been in possession of a copy - casts into doubt the impartiality and independence of the NHRC."

Nandini Sundar quotes NHRC as saying that the ET report is twisted and not fully accurate. In this account, the NHRC suggests that the attacks on the police party accompanying them by some people did not deter the team visiting the areas, but does not give any details of the attacks. Considering that the petitioners have described the police as the principal violators of human rights, NHRC's incomplete reference to an incident of attack on the police during the team's visit, is likely to be misconstrued. Why refer to this incident at all in this manner, if the team can describe it in the report?

The next hearing of the case is on September 5, after which it appears, the report will be made public.
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