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Odisha Rights body seeks report on Home Guards’ kneeling


Bhubaneswar: Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has sought a report from authorities on the incident of kneeling down of four Home Guards in district headquarters town of Baripada on Sunday last, on the day when Rath Yatra was celebrated.

Acting on a petition filed by activist and lawyer Prabir Kumar Das, the Commission ordered the DG (Home Guards) and SP of Mayurbhanj to submit their reports (within four weeks) on the incident of kneeling down of four Home Guards by the Reserve Inspector Ashok Kumar Sethi for not wearing the uniform.

According to the petitioner, four Home Guards – including a woman – had been ordered by the Reserve Inspector to kneel down infront of his office at Baripada for violating the dress code. The hapless Home Guards immediately complied and knelt down in full public view. This incident came to light on Wednesday after a photograph showing the four kneeling down with their hands raised went viral on social networking sites. It caused tremendous public outrage and considerable discontent among their colleagues.

The Reserve Inspector reportedly took a stand that he meted out the punishment to instill discipline among the Home Guards who were supposed to wear uniforms when they were on duty.

The petitioner contended that the higher authorities have powers to discipline their subordinates but kneeling down of the Home Guards in full public view is illegal, inhuman and unconstitutional and the same act results in violation of the right to life and dignity guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The petitioner prayed to the Human Rights Commission for an independent enquiry, appropriate action against the erring official and compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each of the victims. The petitioner also prayed for issuance of guidelines and circulars prohibiting indecent punishment/disciplinary actions for preventing the violation of human rights of subordinate personnel.

On the other hand, Mayurbhanj SP R Prakash today recorded the statement of the four Home Guards. Besides, the Reserve Inspector has been relieved from duty. Sethi’s relieve order was pending even if he was transferred.