NHRC overrules Meghalaya government,
orders Rs 5 lakh compensation

New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today welcomed the order of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of 15 December 2010 to award compensation of Rs 500,000 (five lakhs) to the family of 17-year-old Shri Sngewlem Kharsati who died due to torture in police custody at Mawryngkneng Police Outpost in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya.

ACHR in its complaint to the NHRC dated 11 May 2009 stated that the deceased boy was picked up by the police at around 7 pm on 9 May 2009 while returning home after his work from Sung valley on the charge of possessing a ‘dao’ in his tiffin bag. The police beat him up on the road in full public view and then took him to the Mawryngkneng Police Outpost where police personnel including Officer-in-Charge Shri Manbhalang Rymbai subjected him to torture. The boy was declared brought dead by the doctors in the Civil Hospital in Shillong.

The NHRC in its proceedings rejected the version of the police and the state government of Meghalaya which claimed that 17-year-old Shri Sngewlem Kharsati, son of Smt. Bliss Kharasati of Puriang village in East Khasi Hills district had attacked a truck driver with a “Dao” while attempting to commit robbery and was severely assaulted by several truck drivers who were stranded in a traffic jam near Puriang village.

The Commission has stated - “It is difficult to believe that any person would dare commit robbery when there is a traffic jam and so many persons are around. The victim had already died when he was taken to the hospital. This would mean that the injuries were quite serious. The police paid no regard to the gravity of the injuries and instead of taking him directly to the hosptail from the place of occurrence, took him to the Police Outpost. This only shows insensitivity of the police.” The Commission while ordering Rs 5 lakh compensation based its decision on the points raised in the ACHR’s petition and the enquiry report of the Additional District Magistrate, East Khasi Hills which concluded that “the police version of the incident is not validated.”

“The order of the NHRC is a step in the right direction. However, the NHRC must take further necessary actions to ensure prosecution of the guilty policemen including Mawryngkneng Police Outpost Officer-in-Charge Shri Manbhalang Rymbai.” – stated Suhas Chakma, Director of ACHR. [Ends]

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