Asian Centre for Human Rights

Dedicated to promotion and protection of human rights in Asia



I. Overview

Ruled by the Congress Party, Himachal Pradesh’s reservation with the State Human Rights Commission continued. On 6 January 2004, the Himachal Pradesh High Court issued notice to the State government on the appointment of a Chairperson of the State Human Rights Commission in conformity with the provisions of the Human Rights Protection Act of 1993, which provides that only a retired Chief Justice of the High Court can be appointed as the Chairperson. [1] It was only at the end of 2004 that Mr N.C. Jain, a retired Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court was appointed as the Chairperson of the Himachal Pradesh State Human Rights Commission. [2]

The law enforcement personnel continued to use disproportionate force.  On 11 February 2004, the Himachal Pradesh police violently dispersed a peaceful demonstration by the Tibetans at McLeodganj, Dharmasala. They were marching to Delhi to participate in the Tibetan Uprising Day celebrated on 10 March. Police dispersed the march on the ground that they had not obtained any permission. When Vice-President of the Tibetan Youth Congress, Samphel Tenzin opposed it, he was reportedly assaulted without any provocation. The policeman physically dragged nuns, monks and elderly marchers. One 81-year-old Dorje reportedly received blows on the head and other parts of the body. A policeman also snatched the camera of ANI cameraman Hemant. [3]

The Dalits faced atrocities from physical abuse to segregation by the upper castes. On 1 December 2004, four upper castes - Baldev Singh, Tej Singh, Janti and Chino, all residents of Behi Pargna Himgiri village were convicted by Special Judge, Chamba, under Sections 447, 427, 379 and 34 of the IPC and Section 3(1) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the Dalits continue to face atrocities. [4] The four were sentenced for destroying the house of Ms Ramdei, wife of Rasalu of Behi Pargna Himgiri village, belonging to ‘Chamar’ community, one of the Dalit groups. The Government of Himachal Pradesh had allotted two bighas of land in Behi village. But, the accused objected to the allotment stating that they would not allow a ‘Chamar’ to reside near their house and demolished the house of Ramdei. [5]  

The lack of proper rehabilitation negatively impacted the enjoyment of human rights by victims who were displaced by National Thermal Power Corporation in Arki tehsil of Solan [6] and the Pongi dam. [7]

[1] . HC issues notices on appointment of rights panel chief, The Tribune, 7 January 2004

[2] . N.C. Jain rights panel chief, The Tribune, 25 November 2004

[3] . Tibetan peace marchers lathicharged, The Tribune, 12 February 2004

[4] . 4 get jail term for atrocities on SC, The Tribune, 2 December 2004 

[5] . 4 get jail term for atrocities on SC, The Tribune, 2 December 2004 

[6] . Displaced families yet to get land, The Tribune, 23 January 2004

[7] . Pong dam oustees’ case transferred to HP High Court, The Tribune, 29 January 2004