NHRC's abrupt closure of Meghalaya killing case condemned
- It is a chamber of impunity -
New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights today condemned the decision of the National Human Rights Commission (http://www.nhrc.nic.in/dispArchive.asp?fno=1214) of 5 May 2006 to abruptly close the complaint pertaining to the killing of 11 persons and injury of 40 others by the Central Reserve Police Force personnel at Tura and Williamnagar of Garo Hills District of Meghalaya on 30 September 2005. The Garo Students Union had organised a protest to oppose plans by the State Government to shift the headquarters of the Meghalaya Board of Secondary Education (MBOSE) from Tura to Shillong.
NHRC registered the complaint of ACHR (No.12/15/2005-2006-PF) (http://www.achrweb.org/ua/ua-megh-0105-01.pdf) against the killings but did not provide any further information to ACHR until today.
“The decision of the National Human Rights Commission to close the complaint without giving the complainant an opportunity to respond to the report of the State government of Meghalaya violates the cardinal principle of natural justice that both the complainant and the respondent be given adequate opportunity to respond to each other's submissions.” - stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights.
“The decision of the NHRC is incongruous as the NHRC enjoys the power of a civil court and majority of its members consist of retired justices from the Supreme Court of India and High Court but it does not follow the basic principles of administration of justice.” – added Mr Chakma further.
The NHRC accepted the report of the State Government of Meghalaya that the police were forced to resort to firing, which resulted in the death of eleven people and injury of at least 40 others.
“By accepting the report of the State government of Meghalaya, NHRC has justified the disproportionate use of force and prejudiced the outcome of the Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice (Retd) T.C. Das that is inquiring into the killing. How can the NHRC close the compliant when the Commission of Inquiry is yet to complete its task?” asked Mr Chakma.
ACHR accused NHRC of being biased in favour of the State government of Meghalaya. The NHRC has neither examined the victims or their families nor did it allow the Asian Centre for Human Rights to respond to the report of the State government of Meghalaya before closing down the case.
ACHR today submitted one video clipping of the entire shooting at Chandmari, Tura area to the NHRC which shows that the CRPF personnel were shooting at unarmed civilians by keeping the guns above the shoulder with an intention to kill the demonstrators and not to control them.
“As NHRC does not invoke its investigative and prosecutorial powers even in cases of gross violations of the right to life, NHRC has turned into a chamber of impunity.” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma.
ACHR demanded that the NHRC reopen the complaint based on the video clipping provided to it today and uphold the principles of natural justice in all complaints by providing the complainant and the respondent adequate opportunity of access to all the submissions by both the parties and equal time to present their responses.