Why NHRC, headed by Arun Mishra, has maintained silence on Assam violence?

The NHRC website reads that it is “an embodiment of India’s concern for the promotion and protection of human rights.”

On September 24, 12-year-old Shiek Farid, a boy in possession of his new Aadhar card and 35-year-old Mainul Haque were killed in the police firing at Darrang district in Assam. 

Both these victims and countless others were among many accused of being illegal immigrants encroaching on the state’s land in response to which the open firing by the police commenced.

The eviction also witnessed a state photographer hired by the district in question to document the eviction drive. A video which went viral showed the photographer, Bijoy Bania attacking an already injured Mainul Haque who was one among the many shot in the firing incident.

MS Education Academy

The Assam police remark that the protestors launched an attack that led to the clash causing many unconfirmed deaths and injuries but the protestors claim otherwise. In fact, it has time and again been reported that many people who were being evicted and castaway as illegal Bangladeshis, held valid Aadhaar cards and were enrolled in the National Registry of Citizens.

Speaking to Siasat.com, civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad noted that 95% of the evictees were legal citizens. “Bengali speaking Hindus with several years of residency live in Assam as do 70 lakh Muslims with a similar history in the state. Unfortunately, they have been ill-treated on suspicion of being Bangladeshis and their human rights have been violated.”

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat however remarks that the eviction was carried out specifically to target Muslims. Speaking about the eviction drive which resulted in either the demise or the eviction of residents in Assam, Karat noted that “The eviction was unconstitutional and a gross violation of human rights and meant to specifically target one community alone.”

Inaction of NHRC

The major point of contention currently is considering the inaction of the government and opposition leaders (at the Center or in Assam), does the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) plan on stepping in to rectify the issue?

On September 26, the NHRC already received flack from Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee for not intervening and aiding the evictees. “Where is the NHRC? Did they come? If anything happens here, NHRC is promptly sent to Bengal.” she thundered.

Discussing NHRC Chairman Arun Mishra’s speech at the 28th foundation day of the Commission, Karat argued that it was ludicrous to celebrate the Central leadership considering the eviction drive.

Arun Mishra had remarked that “Home minister Amit Shah had ushered a new era of peace in Kashmir and North East.” Siding with the government at this point is particularly contentious considering the Bharatiya Janata Party ruling in Assam has turned a blind eye to the eviction.

A quick perusal by this reporter at the NHRC website regarding the eviction revealed two cases registered under the site’s complaints section. One complaint, in particular, raised the issue of Mainul Haque and Shiek Farid but the case status read “No action taken yet”.

The complaint asking for a probe into Mainul Haque and Sheik Farid’s murder on the NHRC website.

Speaking to Siasat.com, NHRC director of media and communication, Jaimini Srivastava remarked that he does not know the details of specific complaints and as such would not be able to remark on the NHRC’s role in the Assam eviction.

Considering the lack of NHRC action, the very status of Arun Mishra as the Chairman is called into question, especially going by the statements he made recently. It is also worth mentioning that Mishra was notorious for delivering judgements in favour of the BJP establishment during his judgeship.  

Where do we go from here?

Brinda Karat discussed with this reporter how the situation is getting progressively dire and the inaction of the NHRC is worrisome. “The women I met in the village had no space to defecate as they were rendered homeless. As a result, they were dealing with bowel-related ailments and further, the evictees used a cloth to filter water and were suffering from diarrhoea because of it. Does the Commission care about any of this?” she questioned passionately.  

As things stand, the situation is yet to see an end even though the NHRC website reads that it is “an embodiment of India’s concern for the promotion and protection of human rights.”

With Assam’s history of floods and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the evictees continue to lead precarious lives even as Arun Mishra and Prime Minister Narendra Modi continue to discuss “welfare in the North East”.  

Subscribe us on The Siasat Daily - Google News
Back to top button