NHRC announces relief for tribals tortured during hunt for Veerappan
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After sitting for nearly three years over a report that traced the trail of terror by policemen — during the search for forest brigand Veerappan, on tribals living in forests of the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border — National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) announced monetary relief to 89 victims on Monday.
The interim relief of Rs 2.80 crore — awarded for death, rape, torture, prolonged detention and disappearance — falls much below the Rs 10 crore pledged by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments to wipe off horrifying memories of the operation led by the Joint Special task force (STF) of the states.
Shivraj Patil, acting chairperson of NHRC, said that the commission has asked both states to use the remaining amount for "laying roads and setting up schools in the area, since people there have suffered badly".
NHRC's action comes in the wake of protests by human rights activists over its inaction on the report of special commission headed by former Justice of Karnataka High Court,S C Sadashiva. C V Narsimhan, former CBI director, was the other member of the commission appointed by NHRC in 1999 to look into veracity of complaints of atrocities by the STF.
Patil admitted that "NHRC took some time to act on the commission's report". "We finally summoned chief secretaries of both states and asked them to look into the entire matter from the human rights perspective." Patil said.
Giving details of the commission's recommendations, Patil said that the lone woman victim, who had been allegedly raped repeatedly by the policemen, had been awarded Rs 5 lakh as relief.
Rs 5 lakh has been awarded to the next of kin of the 36 persons who were killed in the operations against Veerappan. Three persons will receive Rs 2 lakh each for illegal detention and assault. The 18 persons, who were detained and tortured for over a month by policemen apparently to elicit details about Veerappan, would get Rs 1 to 1.5 lakh each. At least 15 persons detained under TADA, whose cases were never sent for review, would get Rs 2 lakh each. Rs 2 to 2.5 lakh each would be given to three persons, who became disabled due to torture in custody, and the lone case of disappearance would get Rs 3.5 lakh.
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