Asian Centre for Human Rights

Dedicated to promotion and protection of human rights in Asia



I. Overview

Ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, Rajasthan faces no internal armed conflict but witnessed serious human rights violations by the law enforcement personnel. It is one of the few States which used National Security Act of 1980 to suppress the movement of the Kisan Mazdoor Vyapari Sangarsh Samiti by arresting many of its leaders including Hetram Beniwal, Vallabh Kochher and Saheb Ram Punia under the Act. [1]

In 2004, there have been reports of torture, rape and custodial death by Rajasthan Police including custodial death of Nangi, a 19-year-old married girl belonging to the pastoral Bagaria community of Kagya village in Phagi tehsil in Jaipur district on 4 October 2004. [2]

Torture and the use of disproportionate force were rampant. Four farmers were reportedly killed and at least 30 others injured in police firing in Gharsana tehsil in Sriganganagar district on 27 October 2004. In another incident, the Rajasthan Unit of the Peopleís Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) reportedly found that on 7 October 2004, Rajasthan Police thrashed the demonstrators comprising of the school children, their parents and villagers at Kuhadwas village in Jhunjhunu district and resorted to firing without any provocation. They were protesting against the transfer of the school Principal, Ganga Ram who had improved the academic atmosphere. [3]

The Dalits faced serious human rights violations and caste oppression. The government has failed to release Justice SK Lodha Commission report inquiring into the Kumher massacre of 6 June 1992 in which 17 Dalits were massacred by the upper castes. On 13 October 2004, the Rajasthan High Court issued notice to the state Chief Secretary for contempt of court for the state governmentís failure to table the Lodha Commission report before the Assembly. [4]

Women faced violence from the police as well as the society. There was at least one report of honour killing of 15-year- old minor girl, Neelam Gujjar from Shahadpur village in Dausa district on the night of 22 September 2004. She had allegedly eloped with a Dalit boy. [5]

The Adivasis, indigenous peoples continued to face threats of eviction from revenue villages by the forest department. Forty-five tribal families in Bali tehsil of Pali district were evicted from the land where they had been living for several decades. [6] The forest department served notices to 800 families in the Kishanganj area in Baran district alleging encroachment on forestlands. [7] The Sahariya tribal communities became disproportionate victims of starvation death. At least 35 tribal people reportedly died of hunger and hunger related diseases in May-June 2004. [8]

The conditions of the prisons in Rajasthan were deplorable. There were serious shortages of staff. About 50 percent posts have reportedly been lying vacant for more than a decade. [9] Ailing prisoners at the Kota Central Jail have reportedly been inhumanly tortured at a prisonerís ward in a hospital at Kota. [10] At the Barmer district jail, there was neither any female staff to deal with female prisoners nor did the female prisoners had separate provisions. [11]

[1] .Farmers booked under NSA, The Tribune, 6 December 2004

[2] . Rape victim allegedly dies in police custody, The Hindu, 20 October 2004

[3] . PUCL slams police for action against school students, The Hindu, 26 October 2004

[4] . High Court notice to Rajasthan Chief Secretary, The Hindu, 14 October 2004

[5] . Dalit girl violated, The Statesman, 13 August 2004

[6] . Tribals face eviction threat from forest land, The Hindu, 19 October 2004

[7] . Aliens in their own land, The Hindu, 28 September 2004

[8] . Opposition attacks Raje for ignoring starvation deaths, The Pioneer, 24 September 2004

[9] . The Rajasthan Patrika, 11 March 2004

[10] . The Rajasthan Patrika, 11 March 2004

[11] . The Rajasthan Patrika, 11 March 2004