Justice Shri S. Rajendra Babu
Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission
New Delhi- 11 00 03
Subject: Complaint against the capture of over 20 schools by Orissa State Police
16 January 2008
Dear Justice Rajendra Babu,
The Forum for Fact-finding Documentation and Advocacy (FFDA) is seeking the immediate intervention of National Human Rights Commission against the capture of over 20 schools by Orissa State Police.The reliable source revealed that over 20 schools, including the primary schools situated in the Gram Panchawts of Dhnikia, Garhkujanga and Nuagaon of Jagatsinghpur district in Orissa are being occupied by Orissa State Police and used for non-educational purposes.
The schools occupied are Manpur Primary School of Chatua Panchayat, Badgabpur of Balituth Panchayat, Balituth UP School, Garhkujanga UP School, Nuagaon High School, Gobind UP School of Dhinkia Panchayat and Trilochanpur UP School. The headmaster of Badgabpur School has been suspended by the government as he opposed the police camps in his school. Also there are also allegations of Police Force involved in harassing and misbehaving students, including girls.
The police are deployed in Jagatsinghpur to teach a lesson to the protesters who oppose Global steel giant POSCO and illegal land acquision. There is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between POSCO and Government of Orissa in Bhubaneswar for the construction of a steel plant as well as development of iron ore mines in the state.
According to the MoU, POSCO will build a 3 million tonne capacity steel plant, blast furnace or Finex route, during the first phase in Paradeep, Orissa between 2007 and 2010 and expand the final production volume to 12 million tonnes. The investment proposed is to the tune of US$12 billion, including an initial investment of US$ 3 billion during the first phase. The State government of Orissa will grant POSCO mining lease rights for 30 years that will ensure an adequate supply of 600 million tonnes of iron ore to POSCO.
The proposed project affected villagers are protesting against the land acquision by State government of Orissa. They refuse to give up their home and agricultural land. Therefore Police Forces are deployed to control the tensions between the State of Orissa and these villagers.
The FFDA raises its concern against the capture of these schools by the State Police. The use of educational institution non-educational purposes by State Police is against the core principles of Indian constitution and India’s obligation to several international Human rights instruments. Over 4000 children have been suffering, and the state is responsible for the violation of their right to education. The primary school children, the age group of 5-14, were in fear for seeing the arms and police activities in their schools.
FFDA has no hesitation at all to say that the rights of these children have been grossly violated, and Orissa police must be held accountable for their acts, and turning the rural educational institutions as military zone like situation.It is in our understanding that the capture of over 20 schools is a human rights violation under Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 21 of Indian Constitution.
India’s obligations to International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are violated completely as it fails “to avoid measures that hinder or prevent the enjoyment of the right to education”. Further, the UN CESR adds, education has to be within safe physical reach”. UN code of conduct for the law enforcement officials says, “Law enforcement officials shall not commit any act of corruption. They shall also rigorously oppose and combat all such acts”.The capture of over 20 schools by over 16 platoons of Orissa State Police exposes the crime committed by Orissa police and crushed principles of human rights. FFDA requests NHRC to intervene by taking following measures:
Direct the State government of Orissa to investigate the matter by an independent authority and to report to the NHRC within four weeks time;
Direct the State government of Orissa to pay interim compensation of INR 50,000/- to each child;
Direct the State Government of Orissa to make psychological counselling for the students who have been exposed to fear and harassment by the Police Forces;
Direct the State government of Orissa to suspend the police personnel involved in the matter and bring culprits to court of justice;
Direct the State government of Orissa to respect the Right of Education of the Indian Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and
Take any other measures that NHRC deems fit.
With kind regards,
Forum for Fact-finding Documentation and Advocacy
(Input from Anke Boone)
for more information read more
Monday, February 18, 2008
Orissa Police Capture Schools
(no wonder we have such scenes all over India)