• Uttaranchal

    1. Overview. 1
    2. Violations of the rights of the Dalits 1
    3. Status of the Internally displaced persons 2
    4. Violations of the prisoners' rights 2

    1. Overview

    Ruled by Indian National Congress, Uttaranchal faced no internal armed conflict. However, human rights violations continued to be perpetrated by the security forces. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of the Government of India recorded the killing of 9 civilians and injuring of 2 others in police firing in 2005.[1]

    2. Violations of the rights of the Dalits

    The conditions of Dalits, like elsewhere in India, remained deplorable. According to NCRB, 99 incidents of crime were committed against the Scheduled Castes during 2005.[2]

    In March 2005, a Dalit couple was subjected to beating with iron rods, hung from a rooftop upside down and paraded with their faces blackened in Najarpura village of Hardwar district following a diktat issued by the village panchayat for having alleged illicit relations with men from outside the village. The Panchayat also ordered banishment of the woman, Brajesh, who was a mother of five children, from the village.[3]

    The State government of Uttaranchal failed to return back about 1,168 acres of land to the displaced Dalits families of Kundeshwari village in Shaheed Udham Singh Nagar district.

    Despite a favourable Supreme Court verdict they had not been given land entitlement as on January 2005. More than 150 dalits families were displaced in 1991 when the entire administration under the grip of a private company raided the village and forcefully evicted the villagers. The company named Escort Farms Ltd claimed that the land belong to them and approached the local administration to clear the land. When the people resisted the move to demolish their houses they were brutally beaten up. Women, old men and children were put under house arrest.[4]

    3. Status of the Internally displaced persons

    As of December 2005, both the Uttranchal and the Central governments failed to properly rehabilitate hundreds of oustees from the old Tehri town and adjoining villages facing submergence by waters of the Bhagirathi River.[5] One Dhan Singh Negi, a tenant living in Tehri town since 1981 alleged of not having receive even a single penny as compensation.[6]

    The government had not announced any new rehabilitation scheme following the closure of the T-2 tunnel on 29 October 2005.[7] With a height of 260.5 metres, the 2400 MW Tehri Dam once fully filled would spread over 43 square kilometers and about 5291 families of Tehri town and 5000 families from 37 nearby villages would be fully affected and nearly 4000 families in 88 other villages would be partially affected.[8] The Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) stated that the submersion would be completed by April 2006.[9]

    However, the Chief Secretary of Uttaranchal, M Ramachandran claimed that people uprooted from villages had been settled under different schemes and plans and the government has spent around Rs 600 crore in this regard.[10] In November 2005, the Union Power Ministry agreed to provide an additional grant of Rs 15 crore to the Uttaranchal government for rehabilitation.[11]

    As per the Tehri Hydro-Electric Development Corporation, a total of 5,291 families in urban areas and 5,429 in rural areas had been rehabilitated. However, the Rehabilitation Directorate of the state government had a total of 12,547 displaced families on its records. A meagre compensation of Rs 20,000 was announced to per displaced family.[12]

    4. Violations of the prisoners' rights

    Prison conditions remained deplorable and women inmates were potential victims of sexual exploitation by the male officials of the jails, sometimes with the help of the female prison guards.

    On 2 February 2005, NHRC sought a factual report from the DG (Prisons), Uttaranchal and Secretary, Health, Government of Uttaranchal following media report that the jail officials in connivance with the female guards had been sexually abusing a 30-year-old woman prisoner in Haridwar district jail. A letter sent by a convict from the Haridwar district jail to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Haridwar and to the media alleged that the victim was forced to terminate her pregnancy in the District Hospital on 27 January 2005.[13]

    [1]. 2005-Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [2]. 2005-Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [3]. Dalit couple beaten up, The Deccan Herald, 24 April 2005

    [4]. Tillers' 15-year Fight for Land, The Sentinel, 6 January 2005

    [5]. Tehri Dam oustees stage dharna, http://www.outlookindia.com/pti_news.asp?id=102580

    [6]. TIME TO MOVE ON - 190-yr-old Tehri town goes under - Residents bid final farewell, The Hindustan Times, 5 November 2005

    [7]. Tehri: displaced face a dark future, The Deccan Herald, 7 November 2005

    [8]. TIME TO MOVE ON - 190-yr-old Tehri town goes under - Residents bid final farewell, The Hindustan Times, 5 November 2005

    [9]. Old Tehri wipe-off not without political cost, The Pioneer, 9 November 2005

    [10]. Old Tehri clock left ticking for none, The Pioneer, 22 December 2005

    [11]. Tehri rehab: Centre to give Rs 15 cr more, The Indian Express, 14 November 2005

    [12]. Tehri rehab: Centre to give Rs 15 cr more, The Indian Express, 14 November 2005

    [13]. NHRC calls for report on sexual exploitation of lady prisoner in Haridwar jail, NHRC press release, 3 February 2005

    | Home | About ACHR | Press Releases | Weekly Review | Campaigns | Briefing Papers | Reports |
    | Links | Info by Theme | ACHR Impact | Info by Country | ACHR in Media | Contact Us
    Copyright © 2007 Asian Centre for Human Rights. All rights reserved.