The NHRC has sent notices to the Punjab and Uttar Pradesh governments over reports of a migrant woman pulling a suitcase with her child sleeping half hung on it on the Agra highway during the ongoing novel coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The rights panel in a statement on Friday observed that it is aware of the unprecedented situation and that the central and state governments are working sincerely to address every issue coming up during the lockdown.
"But it is strange that the pain of the child and the family could be seen and felt by many enroute, except local authorities," the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) said.
Had local authorities been vigilant, some relief could have immediately been provided to the aggrieved family and others facing similar hardships, it said.
"The incident amounts to violation of human rights and requires intervention by the NHRC," the rights panel said.
The NHRC said, accordingly, it has issued notices to the chief secretaries of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and the district magistrate of Agra, seeking a detailed report within four weeks, including action taken against officials responsible, and relief and assistance provided to the victim family.
The commission observed that "several news reports about miseries of people have come to its notice during the lockdown, forcing it to intervene in order to sensitise central and the state authorities to deal with the situation with an approach of respect to human rights of the public at large, particularly the vulnerable sections of society".
However, media reports suggest continuing sufferings of people, particularly migrant labourers, whose long journeys are not coming to a halt, it said.
Referring to another reported incident of public authorities' apathy, wherein a woman migrant labourer had delivered her baby on a road and continued her journey within two hours after that while on way to Madhya Pradesh from Maharashtra, the NHRC said that "such incidents only indicate towards carelessness and inappropriate approach of local public authorities who do not bother to come forward to see the reality on the ground".