The Maharashtra government has been hauled up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for failing to protect migrants from a hate campaign launched by Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
Rapping the state government for its failure which led to the killing of two men during the violence by MNS activists in Mumbai and adjoining areas, the NHRC also recommended the government pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the two killed men, according to a commission spokesperson on Thursday.
Then NHRC spokesperson said: "While taking up the two specific incidents of violence, among others, unleashed by MNS activists, the commission recommended that the government pay Rs.500,000 each to the next of kin of Vinod Singh and Amba Das, killed by mob in Mumbai and its adjourning areas."
During the hearings on the incidents that took place Feb 13, 2008, the NHRC said: "A campaign for hatred had been launched against non-Maharashtrians in the region and it was the constitutional duty of the state government to safeguard the lives of the migrant people".
According to NHRC, Singh, a Nasik security guard, was attacked by MNS activists in a workers' colony near his home.
The other victim, Amba Das, died following a fatal injury caused to him when a mob pelted stones on the bus he was travelling in.
"The commission took up the matter in a suo motu cognizance of media reports carried on Feb 14, 2008, and sought a report from the chief secretary on the violence," the NHRC official said.
The government later confirmed the two incidents and said FIRs had been registered, the official said.
"However, the government failed to explain the preventive measures it had taken to protect people from the attackers. After subsequent notices, it informed the commission last September that financial assistance of Rs.100,000 was given to the families of the victims," the NHRC official said.
"The commission, however, upped the assistance to Rs.500,000 each and told the government to revert back with the proof of payment within six weeks," he added.
The NHRC during the proceedings observed: "It is unfortunate that the state government did not muster the political will to rein in the divisive forces and failed to take timely action for the protection of citizens. The victims' families have lost their bread earners and the government cannot evade its liability to give appropriate relief on the ground of financial constraints."