1,822 bodies found in Indira Gandhi canal in 10 years; Raj gets HC notice

The petition in the Rajasthan high court was filed by a school teacher who said he gathered data about the bodies found in the Indira Gandhi canal using the right to information law.
The Rajasthan high court issued notice to the government on a petition that wants nets to be set up on the Indira Gandhi canal to stop bodies from flowing into the state (HT photo/Representative image)
The Rajasthan high court issued notice to the government on a petition that wants nets to be set up on the Indira Gandhi canal to stop bodies from flowing into the state (HT photo/Representative image)
Published on Sep 29, 2021 01:29 AM IST
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JAIPUR: The Rajasthan government has been issued notice by the high court on a petition that wants the government to take steps to stop bodies from flowing into the state from Haryana. The public interest litigation filed by a government teacher in Jaisalmer cited data obtained via right to information requests to underline that 1,822 bodies had been found in Indira Gandhi canal in the state between 2010 and 2019.

Babu Ram Chouhan’s petition said an overwhelming number of bodies were never identified. Out of 1,822 bodies found in canal in Rajasthan, only 260 bodies could be identified. Chouhan’s petition wanted the Rajasthan government to develop a system of nets in the canal along the Haryana-Rajasthan border to prevent the bodies from floating into the state.

Chouhan’s petition, filed by lawyer Razzak Khan, said the canal has become a haven for criminals to dispose of dead bodies and get away with crimes such as murder. He also asked the court to order the government to set up a special police station to identify the bodies and investigate the deaths.

Also, the disposal of unidentified dead bodies is not done properly according to the rituals, which is a violation of human rights, the petition said, pointing that Chouhan had also approached the National Human Rights Commission and Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission in this connection.

A division bench of justices Sangita Lodha and Vinit Kumar Mathur has issued notice to the Rajasthan government.

The petition said cases of unidentified dead bodies pile up at police stations and are eventually closed without any action.

The PIL said petitioner tried to persuade the government to take steps and had sent a representations to the authorities concerned. But he was told that if nets are set up, the moss would get stuck in the net and affect the flow of water, and this may damage the canal itself.

He said his request for setting up a special police station for the canal area was also denied on grounds that there was a bar on creation of new posts due to the financial burden on the exchequer due to the Covid pandemic.

The 445km long IGNP, considered India’s longest canal, originates at Punjab’s Harike Barrage. The length of its feeder canal is 204 km out of which 170 km is in Punjab and Haryana.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021