NHRC takes note of alleged ill treatment in political rallies

Issues notices to chief secretary and DGP, Tamil Nadu, over alleged violation of human rights during rallies in scorching sun

GN Bureau | May 2, 2016


#NHRC   #Tamil Nadu   #political rallies  

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken cognisance of a complaint alleging that several people were forced and threatened to sit for political rallies in open fields under the scorching sun, for four to five hours without drinking water and other basic facilities. This not only led to people fainting and loss of lives, but also amounted to violation of basic and fundamental human rights, and it took place despite district collectors’ orders that public should not venture out from 11 am to 4 pm due to intense heat.

The commission has now issued notices to the chief secretary and director general of police of Tamil Nadu, calling for detailed reports, within two weeks, about the circumstances leading to the unfortunate incidents. The commission has also directed them to take all necessary measures to prevent reoccurrence of such incidents in the future.

It was alleged that in three public rallies that were held in Cuddalore, Virudhunagar and Salem districts respectively this year in April, people were forced and threatened to assemble as early as 11 in the morning, although, the meetings were to start after 3 pm. The crowd was neither allowed to attend nature’s call nor provided with basic amenities like drinking water.

It was further alleged that many people fainted at Virudhuchalam rally in Cuddalore district, creating unrest and panic, which in turn, led to a stampede. A total of 17 persons were admitted in hospital while two lost their lives as first aid was not provided promptly. In the Aruppukkottai stampede in Virudhunagar district, one was seriously hurt who eventually died while two others died in Magudanchavadi in Salem due to heat and overcrowding. It was also alleged that people were paid Rs 300 over and above the wages under the MNREGA to participate in the meetings.

The commission, while taking note of the alleged mistreatment, said, “while the political parties, especially during the election period, have every right to organise public meetings, it is also the duty of the state/district administration, while granting permissions for such meetings, to take all necessary steps considering the safety and security issues in mind.”

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