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Patkar, others meet NHRC chairman in Mumbai

Posted on Jan 31, 10:39PM | IANS

Mumbai, Jan 31 : Social activist Medha Patkar and representatives of various NGOs met National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman K.G. Balakrishnan here Thursday and apprised him about cases of ongoing human rights violations in Maharashtra.

The representatives of the NGOs pointed out that the chairperson of the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission had not been appointed by the government. They also said that the meeting of the state vigilance committee had not taken place for a long time.

"Social activist Medha Patkar apprised the commission of the subhuman conditions in which the slum dwellers were living," an official said.

"She stated that section 5 of the slums act was not being implemented properly and basic amenities were not available to the slum dwellers. She also alleged massive corruption in the implementation of the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme and urged the commission to make an inquiry into the housing rights of Dalits," he added.

Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, on the other hand, informed the representatives that a team from the commission has heard 571 cases related to atrocities against Scheduled Castes at an open hearing in Nagpur.

Other NGOs also brought forth many other problems faced by people in the state. These and other issues, which arose during the public hearing at Nagpur were taken up with officers of the state government in an interaction which took place immediately thereafter.

It was revealed earlier this week that the chief secretary of Maharashtra is yet to respond to NHRC notice asking details of the state's intervention in the wake of farmer suicides in Vidarbha. The panel had given the state four weeks to reply.

The NHRC had then 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.

Balakrishnan, however, said the commission met with the chief secretary of Maharashtra and that he has promised to look into all the issues and take corrective action.