Farmer suicides: Chief secy ignores notice, summoned
DNA / Yogesh Pawar / Thursday, January 31, 2013 5:45 IST
A National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) notice served to state chief secretary on September 12, 2012, asking details of the state’s intervention in the wake of farmer suicides in Vidarbha had given the state four weeks to reply. Even after all this time the state hasn’t bothered to reply.
The NHRC has now issued a summons to the chief secretary in one case and the Yavatmal district collector in another as neither the secretary, state revenue and forest (rehabilitation) department, nor the Yavatmal district magistrate have responded.
The NHRC chairperson, justice KG Balakrishnan, is coming to the city with a team on Thursday. All eyes are now on the chief secretary’s office to see how the state will explain the delay.
While confirming the summons, no one in the chief secretary’s office and other departments mentioned wanted to go on record. “Since the NHRC is only quasi judicial, it may not lead to direct punitive action, but the embarrassment this brings to the state has led to a lot of red faces,” admitted a senior bureaucrat.
The NHRC team was in Nagpur for the past three days. “Though the Nagpur visit was an open hearing on complaints regarding denial of rights to SCs in the state, there were instances where the fallout of these injustices was compounded due to an overlap with the agrarian crisis in the region and the suicides,” a source in the national panel said.
Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti hoped senior bureaucrats would face action for their apathy. “With nearly 8,500 farmers dead since 2005, this is a kind of government-sponsored genocide. Unless the NHRC takes stern action, the message going across will be that such apathy will be tolerated. This will mean even more brazen neglect by those concerned,”