Kendrapara: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken cognizance of a petition and sought an Action Taken Report (ATR) from the Rayagada district collector on the arrest and death of a pregnant woman who was staging a sit-in demonstration in front of a company demanding employment.
ATR was also sought on the arrest of other pregnant women and villagers, who were also agitating on the same demand
The NHRC in its January 16 order stated it received a complaint from human rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy about the death of one woman Mala Nayak of Andirakanch Village, in Odisha’s Rayagada district on January 11.
It was alleged that the deceased along with 12 other women were arrested on December 26 for staging a dharna in front of Utkal Alumina demanding employment in the company.”
The deceased and four other women were pregnant at the time of their arrest. Though their bail plea was accepted by the court on January 6, she, along with others couldn’t be released as another case was registered by police against them.
The victim was in her advanced stage of pregnancy but norms related to arrest and judicial custody of pregnant women were not adhered to by the authorities, the complaint said.
The complainant also highlighted several other issues concerning the lack of basic amenities in the area/district leading to serious violations of the human rights of inhabitants of the area concerned.
Seeking ATR from the Rayagada district Collector, the NHRC forwarded the petition to the Odisha Chief Secretary for information.
Tripathy pointed out that the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi was a catalyst for launching the Orissa Tribal Development Project for Kashipur in 1987
After more than a decade and hundreds of crores having been spent, there is no perceptible improvement in the people’s plight. The pauperisation is visible when one hits the dirt tracks to go around the faceless villages of the region, the complaint alleged.
In the present case, the arrest of poor, tribal pregnant women and keeping them behind bars without medical treatment and adequate legal aid pose serious questions of human rights, it was alleged.
There is severe environment pollution and lack of livelihood support in the affected area, the petitioner contended.
Tripathy requested the NHRC to investigate the case in detail by deputing a team of officials or through the Special Rapporteur, direct the DGP, Chief Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and also Ministry of Rural Development, Govt of India and the District Collector and Superintendent of Police, Rayagada to act over the issue immediately.
The inquiry report must be submitted with legal action against the errant officials. The family members of the victim Pregnant women must be highly compensated, the petitioner said.
The NHRC has also been requested to ensure livelihood support to the villagers, health care on a war footing, and basic amenities to the poor villagers along with benefits under social welfare schemes like food, ration, and house under Awas Yojana. Job under MGNREGS. UNI