'Nandigram reflects failure of state machinery'

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New Delhi, Nov 19: National Human Rights Commission Chairman Justice S Rajendra Babu today said the Nandigram episode in West Bengal may have occurred due to a possible ''failure of the state machinery''.

He said, ''The picture will be clear after I recieve the report of the Commission's fact-finding team that went to Nandigram. But there could be possible failure of the state machinery.'' He was speaking to newspersons on the sidelines of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the NHRC with State Human Rights Commission here.

Justice Rajendra Babu said parallels could be drawn between Nandigram and the post-Godhra violence. ''The ultimate result is violation of human rights. Wherever violence breaks out, human rights violations take place.'' He said land acquisition for SEZs or for mega projects have raised important human rights issues relating to right to livelihood and these need to be handled prudently by the state aministrations.

''When state agencies act as mute spectators, we have to try and see what has happened,'' he said.

Earlier, inaugurating the convention, Justice Rajendra Babu said India has been facing tough challenges such as terrorism, trafficking in women and children, disappearance of persons, displacement of people due to disasters, conflicts and development, child labour, sexual abuse of children as in Nithari.

''These rights issues have to be kept in view while reworking and reviewing strategies, particularly in glare of media,'' he added.

Calling for the cooperation of the SHRCs, he said it was not possible for the NHRC to take up cases beyond a point, and that state bodies should carry forward the work. ''There is a lot that could be done together to translate the rehtoric into action and make slogan 'All Human Rights For All' a living reality,'' he said.

For the SHRCs' capacity-building, the Chairman said the Commission has made a special provision in its own budget to strengthen them. A provision of Rs 20 million has been proposed in the Annual Plan 2007-08 and Rs 100 million in the Eleventh Five Year Plan.

He said the Commission will try to improve their capability on its own with regard to complaints handling systems, protection and promotion of human rights relating to economic, social, cultural and political rights.

He said Panchayats and muncipalities must be made aware of their responsibilities and therefore SHRCs could contribute to this effort.

Stressing on the need to spread awareness about human rights, the Chairman said the NHRC has come out with publications and films for the purpose.


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