Six-month-old baby girl dies in police cross-firing; NHRC sends notice to Chhattisgarh govt

The NHRC sought a detailed report from the Chhattisgarh govt, for the violation of the human rights of the deceased within six weeks, after hearing a petition filed by Radhakanta Tripathy, a noted human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Delhi.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Delhi. (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a show cause notice, under the protection of the Human Rights Act, 1993, to the Government of Chhattisgarh, and asked why the Commission should not recommend the payment of compensation of Rs one lakh to the family members of the baby girl who died in an alleged police cross firing incident in the state.

The NHRC sought a detailed report from the Chhattisgarh govt, for the violation of the human rights of the deceased within six weeks, after hearing a petition filed by Radhakanta Tripathy, a noted human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer.

Tripathy moved the NHRC alleging that a six-month-old girl died, while her mother suffered a bullet injury after they got caught in the cross-firing between Maoists and security forces in the forests of Bijapur district in Bastar region of South Chhattisgarh.

Since, the firing began suddenly and the woman, Masse Vadde (30) who was carrying her daughter, was frightened and started running to took for shelter. Meanwhile, both were hit by a bullet which was fired.

Stating the sorry state of affairs of the common man living in the conflict Zones, the petitioner, Tripathy alleged that due to prolonged inaction of the govt authorities, the poor villagers and common man are more often sandwiched by the security personnel and the Maoists.

Tripathy sought for a high level enquiry, impartial investigation and permanent solution of the issue of the prolonged conflict. He also sought for heavy compensation for the death and injury in the instant case besides medical care and benefits of social welfare schemes of the State or the center.

Taking cognizance of the brutal matter on January 24, 2024, the NHRC had directed its Registry to forward the complaint to the District Magistrate (DM) Bijapur, Chhattisgarh. The Commission also asked the Superintendent of Police, Bijapur, Chhattisgarh to ensure taking appropriate action associating the complainant and send a Action Taken Report (ATR) to the Commission within six weeks.

Meantime the Superintendent of Police, Bijapur, Chhattisgarh has sent an intimation in respect of this incident to the Commission.

It has been stated that an encounter took place between the security forces and moist-naxals at the forest near village Mutvedi, under Gangalur police station in Bijapur district on January 01, 2024. Fire exchanged from both side.

During the subsequent search operation arms and ammunition left by the moists-naxals was recovered. The lady and 6-month-old daughter were also found in seriously injured conditions during the search. They were immediately given primary medical treatment and sent from camp to District Hospital Bijapur by ambulance. However, after reaching the Hospital, the doctors declared the baby girl dead.

After perusal of the records, it was transpired that the SP, Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, after registration of case, was investigating the matter thoroughly.

Regarding the medical treatment and monetary compensation, the Registry is directed to issue the Govt. of Chhattisgarh through its Chief Secretary, ensuring that proper and free treatment is provided to the victim, the NHRC said.

Regarding granting of suitable monetary compensation, the State is vicariously liable for the death of the deceased, as the deceased died during a cross-firing between the security forces and the terrorist. It is the responsibility of the State to take due measures to ensure the safety of life and property of the people, the NHRC added. 

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