NEW DELHI, (Anto Akkara) — The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), set up with the mandate to ensure ‘better protection of human rights’, was a beacon of hope to the victims of the post-Godhra carnage. However, it did not even issue a single press release on Kandhamal in five years.
Repeated efforts to get a response to this mysterious silence on the mayhem in Kandhamal evoked no response. In fact, stunning was the ‘ENQUIRY REPORT’ submitted by the NHRC investigation team that made a clear attempt to whitewash the colossal human rights infringement in Kandhamal. The NHRC’s sweeping observation that “the relief camps have been well established” stood in stark contrast to the tell-tale reports of social action groups highlighting the deplorable state of affairs in the open-air refugee camps without even water supply and sanitation.
The NHRC investigation team seemed to have turned public relations agents for the beleaguered Odisha police. The insensitivity of the investigation team was reinforced in its reporting of the gang-rape and murder of a Hindu girl who had been burnt alive. “A twenty year-old late Rajani Majhi sacrificed her life to save the life of the children living in the orphanage …” remarked the NHRC investigators. It is shocking that the NHRC failed to report or deliberately covered up the gang-rape and burning alive of a Hindu college girl – herself an orphan who looked after 22 young Hindu orphan boys at the Christian centre.
The white washing of the Kandhamal conflagration by the national human rights watchdog raises the question whose brief was it carrying out?
Anto Akkara, Journalist author of ‘Kandhamal craves for Justice’