Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar/New Delhi, May 7:
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called for action taken report (ATR) from Odisha Chief Secretary over deaths of 27 opera party persons in Deogarh district on April 17 this year.
Acting on a complaint filed by rights campaigner Subash Mohapatra, the rights panel sought ATR from the concerned authority within four weeks.
Following death of 27 persons mostly members of Bargarh-based Bharati Gananatya, an opera party, after a bus fell into a 300 feet gorge in Deogarh district, Mohapatra had sought the rights body’s intervention to direct the Odisha government to provide interim compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the next kin of the deceased and Rs 5 lakh to injured persons.
Rights campaigner Mohapatra stated in the petition that the said tragedy could have been prevented. It occurred as the norms and laws are not implemented by the state agencies. He also sought action against concerned officials for not registering the opera parties and not taking stringent action under child labour act as the children are used and forced to perform whole night in the opera parties.
“The opera parties are performing between midnight and 5 am in many places of Odisha, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, where Odia community dominates. The children were made to perform and make stage shows including sexual and vulgar scenes before mass audience,” he alleged. He also said that the district administrations permit them to perform these stage shows despite the fact that they are practicing slavery.
He said that a petition was earlier filed before the commission over the issue while the state government responded that they have issued circular for mandatory registration of the opera parties.
“But most of the opera parties like Bharati Gananatya are running illegally and the authorities are responsible for the non-implementation of the preventive measures, including registration of the opera parties and stringent action under child labour act,” said Mohapatra.