Meghalaya flayed for pre-judging NHRC’s impending order on custodial death

New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today asked the National Human Rights Commission of India (http://www.achrweb.org/ncpt/Kharsati2009-02.pdf) to direct the State Government of Meghalaya to pay an interim compensation of Rs 10 lakhs for the custodial death of 17-year-old Sngewlem Kharsati and start necessary criminal proceedings against the accused police personnel including their immediate arrest and prosecution.

In the evening of 9 May 2009, Sngewlem Kharsati, son of Smt. Bliss Kharsati of Puriang village in the East Khasi Hills district was picked up for alleged extortion and was beaten to death inside the lock-up of Mawryngkneng Police Outpost in the East Khasi Hills district.

On 11 May 2009, Asian Centre for Human Rights filed a complaint (http://www.achrweb.org/ncpt/Kharsati2009-01.pdf) with the National Human Rights Commission after the relatives provided ACHR a copy of the First Information Report submitted to the police. The NHRC registered ACHR’s complaint and instructed its Director General of Investigation to conduct the inquiry (http://www.nhrc.nic.in/display.asp?fno=10/15/2/09-10-AD).

The State government of Meghalaya ordered a magisterial inquiry headed by Additional District Magistrate Tableland Lyngwa. The magisterial inquiry completed by 31 July 2009 found a number of police personnel guilty for the death of minor Shri Sngewlem Kharsati. The inquiry commission report was submitted to the government and the NHRC on 5 August 2009.

However, before the NHRC could take any decision, on 21 August 2009, the State government of Meghalaya announced Rs 2 lakhs compensation to the next of kin of Sngewlem Kharsati and departmental actions against the accused police personnel.

“This is nothing but a desperate attempt of the Meghalaya government to pre-empt, prejudice and pre-judge the impending order of the NHRC.” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

“While no amount of money can compensate the loss of a human life, it is essential that compensation and criminal action commensurate with the gravity of the crime i.e. murder of a 17 year old boy.” - further added Mr Chakma.

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