GUWAHATI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has ordered the Assam government to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to a Muslim man who was assaulted by vigilantes for selling cooked beef at his eatery.
The order was issued based on a complaint lodged by the Leader of Opposition in Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia of the Congress. The Commission took a strong note that neither the Chief Secretary replied to a show-cause notice nor the Director General of Police (DGP) submitted the action taken report against some guilty cops.
On April 12 last year, Shaukat Ali (48) had to be hospitalised after he was attacked by the vigilantes for serving beef at his eatery at a village market in Biswanath district. Some policemen, who were at the site, allegedly remained mute spectators.
According to a report submitted to the NHRC by district administration, the market was not leased out for financial years 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20 but the “profession tax collector” involved some local unemployed youths to collect revenues.
The report also said as the market is located in a Hindu-inhabited area, the selling of beef hurt religious sentiments of locals. As such, some youths insulted and disgraced the victim while some unidentified persons inserted something in his mouth but it could not be ascertained if it was pork which his family alleged.
“… It is clearly discernible from the report that public servant was collecting revenue from the market involving some local unemployed youths which is against the law. The victim was found insulted and disgraced on the basis of caste/religion and therefore, the human rights of the victim were violated. Police apprehended 15 persons and forwarded them to judicial custody. Thus, prima facie it is a case of violation of human rights of the victim for which the state is vicariously liable to compensate the victim,” the NHRC order reads.
Taking note of the fact that it did not receive a reply or response to the show cause notice, the Commission directed the Chief Secretary to release Rs 1 lakh to the victim and submit a report along with proof of payment to the Commission within six weeks.
“In addition, the Commission has not received action taken report against the guilty police officials from the DGP, Assam. Therefore, let reminder be sent to the DGP to submit the action taken report against the guilty police officials within four weeks failing which the Commission shall be constrained to invoke Section 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act including the law laid down in Rule 10 and Rule 12 of order XVI of Civil Procedure, 1908 and the criminal proceedings under Sections 175/176 of IPC, 1860 and such other action as its deems proper under the law,” the Commission warned.