IRAC Impact: NHRC summons Jharkhand Chief Secretary over starvation of tribals

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)  has summoned the Jharkhand Chief Secretary and the District Magistrate of Garhwa district to personally appear before the Commission on 29 June 2022 over non-submission of reports relating to starvation of about 8,000 tribals in Garhwa district.

In October 2021, it was reported in the media that some 8,000 tribals, including Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) families, were starving due to denial of ration in Garhwa district for the last three months and some of them were surviving by eating edible wild roots.

IRAC had filed a complaint before the National Human Rights Commission which registered a case and issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Government of Jharkhand and the District Magistrate, Garhwa district, calling for a report within six weeks.

The first notices were issued on 16 November 2021 and final reminder was issued on 8 March 2022 but both the Chief Secretary and the District Magistrate ignored the notices and did not submit the reports to the NHRC. The non-compliance of the orders of the National Human Rights Commission is a serious matter.

In its order dated 24 May 2022, the NHRC has asked the Jharkhand Chief Secretary and the District Magistrate of Garhwa to appear physically before the Commission at New Delhi along with the requisite documents/information. However, if required documents /information are received on or before 22 June 2022, the personal appearance of the concerned authorities shall stand dispensed with, the Commission said in the order.

Copy of the NHRC summons.

The NHRC has the power of a civil court while enquiring into complaints and can summon any official and require any person to furnish information under section 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

The development has been covered by the Telegraph in a story on May 27, 2022, accessible at: https://www.telegraphindia.com/jharkhand/tribal-starvation-call-for-jharkhand-officials/cid/1867024

Image: PTG villagers in Garhwa district not receiving ration show their ration cards last year. By: Bhola Prasad.

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