A forgettable year for human rights

MANGALORE: Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) Chairman S R Nayak had observed in April that most of the human rights violation complaints came from the coastal Dakshina Kannada district.
True to his observation, 2011 witnessed a climb in incidents of violations of human rights with the district administration leading from the front. The first such violation took place on the indigenous tribal 'Malekudiyas' on January 13. Beltangady tahsildar Prameela demolished six houses of Malekudiyas at Naydaguri in Sulkeri village, ignoring their applications pending under the government's regularisation scheme.

The incident prompted various agencies to press for independent inquiries. Rehabilitation of Malekudiyas, however, has failed to reach a logical end.

Though the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues had emphasised on rights of indigenous people, the administration continues to ignore their rights.

Koraga community, identified as one of the two primitive tribes in the state, was also at the receiving end of red-tapism. A three-month delay in the release of free nutritious food forced Koragas to observe a day-long protest. Stung by the agitation, district administration expedited the release of food grains and pulses from September. The achievement in providing homes to 1,126 Koraga families was also far from satisfactory.

The cash-rich ITDP's (Integrated Tribal Development Project) proposal to build homes worth '1.50 lakh for Koragas is still awaiting government approval. Less than a dozen of the total 75 beneficiaries were able to secure title deeds for lands from government. Their demand for quality health care and education remains elusive. Koraga families in Nanthoor village were evicted to make way for a flyover, which was eventually shelved.

Fed up with empty promises, members of the Project Displaced Families (PDF) were forced to immolate themselves in January.

However, the youth who were prevented from immolating, were given empty promises. In September, armed with a motive of usurping land at Mateguri in Krishnapura, goons with backing of a former mayor beat up a Dalit family.

Headmistress Flossy Mary D'Souza, a victim of sexual harassment, was eventually fired from her job. Having approached PUCL (People's Union for Civil Liberties); she is still waging a losing battle to secure justice.

The case of former beauty queen Vilasini, being confined to her home took a twist with the Fast Track Court allowing her health and mental examination in a hospital.

A 22-day-long torture suffered by Shameera, her mother, father and brother at the hands of her husband Aboobakar from Moodbidri capped a forgettable year.


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