Indicting the Maharashtra government for its failure to take “timely action to protect people” during the anti-north Indian campaign launched by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) two years ago, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday asked it to pay compensation of Rs five lakh each to families of two victims of MNS violence in February 2008.
Reminding the Congress-NCP government of its constitutional duty to safeguard lives of migrants, the NHRC said: “It is unfortunate that the state
government did not muster
the political will to rein in divisive forces and failed to take timely action for protection of citizens.”
Taking cognizance of media reports about the killing of migrants in Maharashtra, the NHRC had issued notice to the state. Later, former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, the Uttar Bhartiya Shramik Elgar and Jai Hind Jhuggi Jhopadi Sangh of Mumbai too had approached the Commission on the issue.
The NHRC rejected the state government’s plea of monetary constraint, saying, “The persons who lost their lives were poor labourers. Their families have lost bread-earners, and the government cannot evade its liability to give appropriate relief on grounds of financial constraints.”
On the state government’s submission that it has already given compensation of Rs one lakh each to the families of the two victims, the NHRC said the amount “was grossly inadequate for the loss of human life.” The state has to make the payment to the victims’ families by April 26.
Ambadas Dharrao (55), a mechanic working with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, was killed on February 13, 2008 when an MNS mob pelted stones at a bus on the Mumbai-Nashik highway to protest Raj Thackeray’s arrest. Dharrao was a Marathi-speaking person.
On the same day, MNS activists beat to death a 42-year-old security guard, Vinod Singh, who worked at the Jindal Factory in Nashik.
The NHRC said the state government failed to explain what preventive measures it had taken to protect inhabitants of Jindal’s workers’ colony and restrain unruly mobs from gathering there.