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Friday, June 14, 2024

Submit report on prosecution of Chakma rights defenders: NHRC tells Changlang DC

In its order issued on July 1, the human rights body asked the DC to submit the report within August 8 or else the NHRC shall be constrained to invoke its coercive power, the rights body had said.

GUWAHATI:

Taking cognisance of the complaint filed by the Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI) against false prosecution of Chakma human rights defenders from Dharmapur village, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the deputy commissioner (DC) of Changlang district to submit its action taken report (ATR) against additional deputy commissioner (ADC), Miao Circle.

In its order issued on July 1, the human rights body asked the DC to submit the report within August 8 or else the NHRC shall be constrained to invoke its coercive power under Section 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 calling for personal appearance.

Taking cognisance of the CDFI’s complaint on March 4, the NHRC had called for the ATR within four weeks from the Changlang DC but the DC had not responded to the notice. On May 6, the NHRC once again directed to submit the ATR but the DC had failed to submit it to date.

In its complaint on February 11, the CDFI alleged that Chakma human rights defenders Kantimoni Chakma, Shanti Mohan Chakma, Sukra Chakma, Sunil Chakma, Sumar Jiban Chakma and Himanta Chakma of Dharmapur Village under Miao Circle of Changlang district have been prosecuted on false charge by additional DC vide order dated February 10 and initiated proceedings under Section 188 CrPC for violations of Section 144 CrPC and removing the pillars erected between Dharmapur and Neoton village on February 8 by deploying a huge contingent of security forces.

“It is a classic case of false prosecution. The ADC himself in his interview to The Diyun Times on February 8 stated that he had not visited to erect any pillar. On February 10, a complaint was lodged against the alleged removal of pillars purportedly “by a mob led by Kantamoni Chakma, Shantimoi Chakma, headman, Dharmapur II, Sukra Chakma, Sunil Chakma, Sumar Jeevan Chakma and Himanta Chakma”, the CDFI said in its complaint.

“If no pillar was erected in the first place, the question of removal of any pillar does not arise. Further, there is no specific averment in the complaint that the pillars were removed after the imposition of the Section 144 CrPC on February 9. Without conducting any inquiry, the additional DC issued the proceedings under Section 188 CrPC which amounts to putting the cart before the horse, that too against a non-existent person and persons who were not present in the village itself,” the CDFO added in its complaint before the NHRC.

“The Chakmas and neighbouring communities have been living peacefully for the last five decades and the Buri Dihing River was the recognized natural boundary between Dharmapur in the North and neighbouring Neoton village in the South. However, a problem started in November 2021 when the Chakma villagers of Dharmapur allegedly stopped one of the leaders of Neoton village, from illegally quarrying of boulders/stones from the new canal situated inside Dharmapur village for commercial supply to an illegal stone boulder/crusher nearby.

“The additional DC instead of inquiring into the illegal quarrying sought to draw illegal and arbitrary boundary pillars between the two villages,” the CDFI said.

In its complaint before the NHRC, the CDFI also requested the rights body to direct the Arunachal Pradesh government and Miao ADC to “stop harassment of the Chakma community human rights defenders, ensure the respect for the Supreme Court judgment in National Human Rights Commission Vs State of Arunachal Pradesh… in letter and spirit, initiate the Contempt of Court proceedings against ADC Sunny Singh for indirectly violating and scandalising the Supreme Court judgment in National Human Rights Commission Vs State of Arunachal Pradesh and And of January 9 1996; and direct the Director-General of Investigation of the NHRC to conduct an inquiry into illegal commercial quarrying from Buri Dihing river under Miao circle, Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh”.

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