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NHRC issues show cause to Odisha govt on ex gratia to tribal girl student’s kin


Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 22:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a show cause notice to the Odisha government asking it to explain why an additional monetary relief of Rs. 2, 50,000 would be not recommended for payment to the next of kin of a deceased a tribal girl student of Class-III of a government-run residential school Banita Kanhar who died an accidental death while in school.

File pic of deceased Banita Kanhar
File pic of deceased Banita Kanhar

Banita had sustained severe burn injuries after she fell into a large pot filled with piping hot curry prepared for mid-day meal at the residential school in Girishchandrapur block of Sambalpur districton August 24, 2013. She was rushed to the local primary health centre from where she was referred to VSS Medical College and Hospital, Burla and later shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack where she succumbed to her injuries on August 25, 2013..

The apex rights body, acting on a submission made by young lawyer and human rights activist Prabir Kumar Das, served the show cause to the state chief secretary while observing that an ex gratia of Rs 50,000 paid to the next of kin of the tribal girl student was wholly inadequate and sought a reply on it within four weeks.

Das, one of the complainants before the NHRC in this case, had pointed out that the girl had died due to the negligence of the employees of the state government. In his response to the directions of the Commission on December 31, 2013, Das, through a submission on February 10, 2014, had argued that the ex-gratia relief of Rs 50,000 paid to the family is wholly inadequate.

The human rights activist in his submission had pointed out that the state government had paid ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh in three cases of rape and murder and requested the Commission to recommended compensation of a similar amount in the Banita case as well.