• Himachal Pradesh

    1. Overview.. 1
    2. Human rights violations by the security forces. 1
    3. Violations of the rights of the SCs/STs. 2

    1. Overview

    Ruled by Indian National Congress party, Himachal Pradesh witnessed an increase in crime rate during 2006. According to the State Police records, a total of 18,096 crimes were registered in 2006 as against 16,836 in 2005. These included 111 murders, 78 attempt to murder, 113 rapes, 130 kidnapping, and 29 robbery cases. Of these, 13,093 cases were registered under the Indian Penal Code and 5,003 under Local and Special laws which included 13 cases under Arms Act and 43 cases under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. There was an increase of over 27% in suicide cases (457) during 2006 in comparison to 2005 (359 cases).[1]

    Crime against women also increased during 2006. As per the police records, a total of 881 crimes against women were registered during the year. The figure was 874 in 2005, 910 in 2004, 801 in 2003, 920 in 2002 and 1,032 in 2001. Out of 881 crimes recorded, 113 were rape cases,274 molestations, 23 murders,four dowry deaths,113 kidnapping/abductions, 259 cruelties to women, 29 eve-teasing, two cases of chain-snatching and two cases under Dowry (Prohibition) Act. Highest number of rape cases was reported from Shimla district with 34 cases.[2]

    As on 1 October 2006, there were six vacancies out of the nine sanctioned strength in the Himachal Pradesh High Court.[3] This decreased to three vacancies by the end of December 2006.[4]  There were three vacancies of judges in the District and Subordinate Courts as on 30 September 2006. There were huge backlog of cases. A total of 25,901 cases were pending with the High Court and a total of 1,55,575 cases were pending with the District and Subordinate Courts as on 30 September 2006.[5]

    2. Human rights violations by the security forces

    The security forces continued to be responsible for human rights violations including torture.

    On 21 August 2006, Dr. Kashmir Thakur, State General Secretary of Centre of India Trade Unions (CITU), was allegedly tortured in police lock-up by three policemen including the Station House Officer of Gehra police post after his arrest. The victim alleged that the policemen made him naked and took his picture in the nude, forced him to lie down on the floor and beat him up with a hunter on the back, thighs and the under-feet in order to force him to confess to a false case registered at the behest of a local contractor and Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) working in the Chamera III project in Chamba district. The victim further alleged that when torture became unbearable, he was forced to put his signature on a paper in front of the two false witnesses in the lock-up which had no light. He was later sent to judicial custody till 4 September 2006.[6]

    On 25 August 2006, at least 10 persons were injured, four of them seriously, when police and security personnel of the HCC resorted to firing and lathicharge on workers of the Chemara III Hydel Project. They were protesting against the alleged torture of CITU leader Kashmir Thakur in police custody and demanding the settlement of their dues.[7]

    3. Violations of the rights of the SCs/STs

    The National Crime Records Bureau recorded 55 cases and 10 cases of atrocity against the Dalits and the tribals respectively in 2005. This included 9 cases of rape of Dalit women and 1 rape case of a tribal woman.

    According to the record of the State Police, a total of 68 cases of crime against the Dalits and the tribals were registered in 2006. This included 11 rape cases.[8]

    As per State Government records, there was a backlog of 3,700 posts reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in direct recruitment and 1,555 in promotions in various government departments as on 31 January 2006. A special drive could not be launched to fill the posts expeditiously in view of the introduction of post-based roaster system in accordance with the Supreme Court order at the Centre which had been adopted by the States.[9]

    The rights of the tribal people continued to be overlooked. The State Government failed to improve their condition and provide the basic rights. The tribal people living in far-flung villages in Kinnaur district were deprived of power supply, safe potable water and means of transportation. The education and health care systems were equally worse with no official machinery to keep a check on the attendance of teachers in the schools and doctors in the dispensaries/primary health care centres. The Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) were neglected. The Zila Parishad could not carry out development works in the rural areas as the State Government did not provide fund to the elected body. Although a sum of Rs 19.38 lakh meant for the year 2005-2006 was drawn from the treasury by the authorities concerned, the money was reportedly not released to the Zila Parishad.[10]

    On 9 December 2006, five tribals were injured when the police resorted to firing and used water cannons and tear gas on tribals at Wangtoo in Kinnaur district. The tribals were protesting against the proposed 1000 MW Karcham-Wangtoo Hydro Electricity Power Project.[11]

    [1]. Crime trend, Himachal Pradesh State Police Department

    [2]. Crime trend, Himachal Pradesh State Police Department

    [3]. Court News, July-September 2006, The Supreme Court of India

    [4]. Court News, October-December 2006, The Supreme Court of India

    [5]. Court News, October-December 2006, The Supreme Court of India

    [6]. CITU leader alleges torture by police, The Tribune, 13 September 2006

    [7]. Firing, lathicharge on workers in Chamba: CPI (M), Alleges torture of trade union leader in police custody, The Hindu, 26 August 2006 

    [8]. Crime trend, Himachal Pradesh State Police Department

    [9]. Backlog of 3700 posts for SCs, STs, The Tribune, 25 March 2006

    [10]. Woes of tribesmen in Kinnaur, The Tribune, 31 May 2006

    [11]. 30 hurt as police, tribals clash, The Tribune, 10 December 2006 

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