The highest number of ‘harassment’ cases of human rights defenders have been recorded during the time of anti-CAA-NRC-NPR (2019-20) protests, with Uttar Pradesh topping the list of complaints. Examining a government data, it was found that human rights defenders were subjected to alleged harassment during the period of stir.
According to the government response in the Lok Sabha, 306 complaints were received by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) regarding the alleged harassment of human rights defenders during the last three years and the current year till August 31, 2020.
In 2019-20 alone there were (105) cases of complaint of alleged harassment of human rights defenders, and in 2020-21 (39). The phase was marked by the protests and agitations against the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. As per data, complaints in 2017-18 are (73) and 2018-19 (89). The lowest cases were recorded in Chandigarh Tripura and Mizoram (1), Jammu and Kashmir recorded (4).
The state-wise comparison reveals UP topping with (53) complaints followed by Tamil Nadu (32); Odisha (26); West Bengal (18); Assam and Karnataka (17). For the year 2019-20, Uttar Pradesh has 26 complaints and eight in 2020-21 on the alleged harassment of human rights defenders.
The question posed by BJD MP from Puri, Pinaki Misra was ‘the number of complaints received by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) regarding alleged harassment of human rights defenders during the last three years and the current year so far, State/UT-wise’.
As per information available with National Human Rights Commission NHRC, the Minister of State Home Affairs, Kishan Reddy shared the state-wise data regarding the number of complaints received by National Human Rights Commission.
When asked about the compensation being provided to some of the cases, “As reported, NHRC made recommendation for monetary relief of Rs. 13.25 lakh in five cases (one each from Bihar, Karnataka, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu) during last three years and the current year till 31.08.2020. However, release of Human Rights defenders is a matter within the jurisdiction of respective Hon’ble Court,” informed MHA.
That the government is committed to the protection of human rights Reddy informed the Lok Sabha “NHRC has a dedicated focal point for receiving and examining complaints about alleged violation of Human Rights of HR defenders. The complaints are processed on priority and taken up with the authorities concerned in the State Government for ensuring protection to the HR defenders as well as redressal of their grievances.”