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GSU asks NHRC to speak up

Tura, July 13: The Garo Students Union (GSU) today castigated the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for remaining silent on various rights violation in Meghalaya’s Garo hills.

In the past two months, a series of human rights violations has taken place in Garo hills, including assault on 12 girls in Tura, death of two undertrial prisoners at Chokpot and Tura, murder of a 35-year-old woman in front of her four minor children and husband by the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) and stabbing of two autorickshaw drivers, among others.

“Why is the NHRC negligent in its duties regarding gross human rights violation in Garo hills? Is it because Garo hills is far away from New Delhi or do they consider violation of human rights in Garo hills too small a matter?” asked GSU president Tengsak G. Momin. He also questioned as to why the NHRC has not been responding to various cases, which has been taken up by the commission.

Quoting a statement of the special rapporteur for the northeastern states, Anil Pradhan, who said the commission has not directed him to inquire into the human rights violations in Garo hills, Momin said, “His statement (Anil Pradhan) suggests that the NHRC is not serious about the issues in Garo hills. What is the use of keeping Pradhan as a special rapporteur in the region, if he is not being able to take up the cases?”

Asking the NHRC to be sensitive towards the issues and problems of the region, Momin said, “It looks like that the NHRC wants to sit idle and draw government salaries.”

Demanding an immediate probe into Balsan Marak and Witson Sangma’s deaths in custody, Momin said, “The NHRC can’t afford to remain silent. The law and order situation is in a shambles in Garo hills.”

Balsan, an undertrial prisoner, had died in a government hospital on May 20 and Witson on May 28. They have also asked the NHRC to look into the fake encounter of Washington Marak of Williamnagar, for which the commission had asked the state government to compensate.