NHRC: Drug menace serious concerns in Punjab

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Nov 29, 2014 12:21 IST

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed its grave concern over the unabated drug menace and the large number of cases of police atrocities in Punjab.

NHRC chairman justice KG Balakrishnan, at a press conference, said the issue of drug supplies and addiction in Punjab was discussed with senior civic and police officers of the state during the commission’s three-day northern regional camp sitting that concluded on Friday.

“The source of supplies (of drugs) should also be found,” justice Balakrishnan said, acknowledging that merely arresting addicts would not resolve the issue.

He refused to comment to a question on the politician-police nexus with drug traffickers.

It was announced that the Punjab police had registered 1,300 cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and seized 500 kg heroin in 2014 so far.

During the camp sitting, the commission heard 63 cases of human rights violation from Punjab, 49 from Haryana, 18 from Himachal Pradesh and 2 from Chandigarh.

Senior officials from these states, including the Punjab chief secretary, appeared before the commission.

The majority of these cases related to police atrocities, including custodial deaths during encounters, Justice Balakrishnan said, adding that Punjab topped these four states in number of cases of human rights violation.

Untouchability in Kangra villages of HP

In a glaring case, the NHRC had served notice to the Himachal Pradesh chief secretary on a petition that highlighted that the people from the scheduled castes were not allowed to enter villages — Cherna, Khadimalla, Andarmalla, Bujling, Polling and Sudhar in Kangra district. The commission still awaited the state’s reply t.

Social boycott of Dalits in Sangrur

The commission expressed its grave concern over Punjab not responding to the NHRC notice served in regard of the reported “social boycott” of Dalit families in Baopur village of Sangrur district wherein the upper caste-dominated panchayat decided to cultivate 26 acres of panchayat land, meant for the scheduled caste families. The NHRC had served notice to reply on the situation within four weeks on Sept 1, 2014, but a reply is awaited.

Custodial deaths in Haryana

Besides Punjab, the commission also found Haryana vulnerable to the deaths in police custody, as the commission’s division bench and full bench heard eight cases of deaths in police custody, due to torture or ‘in an encounter’. The SPs or the SSPs of Rohtak, Jhajjar, Faridabad, Hisar and Kaithal appeared at the camp hearing with their replies. Justice Balakrishnan said media should highlight cases of rights violations.

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