Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 17:
The National Human Rights Commission has sought a detailed action taken report (ATR) from the chief secretary and director general of police (DGP) of Odisha in the matter pertaining to the suicide of tribal nursing student Sunita Raita of Diptinagar under R Udayagiri block in Gajapati district.
Sunita Raita had committed suicide on August 13 after failing to get the stipend due to her for 16 months from the ITDA office.
The national human rights watchdog has directed the chief secretary and the DGP to inform it within four weeks as to what action they have taken in the case and against whom. Following the Commission’s direction, the ST & SC department has sought a report from the Gajapati collector.
NHRC issued the directions acting on a petition by human rights activist Subash Mohapatr . Mohapatra had prayed for institution of a criminal case against both the then Gajapati district collector and the Project Director, ITDA and their arrest contending that both had created the situation that forced Sunita to commit suicide.
Mohapatra had sought a Rs 10 lakh compensation for Sunita’s family while demanding that the action against the erring collector should not be limited to mere suspension and criminal proceedings be initiated against him.
Earlier, the ST & SC Commission too had sought an action report in the case. However, the state government had not provided one. The Commission has again directed the government to submit a report on the matter.
It may be noted that Sunita, in her suicide note, had squarely blamed the district collector and the PA, ITDA Gajapati for her death while making it clear that failure to get her stipend money was the reason behind her suicide.
On August 17, the government had transferred Gajapati district collector Basudev Bahinipati, who was named in the suicide note written by Sunita, and had replaced him with Manasi Nimbhal while putting the then ITDA Project Administrator Kalyan Rath on suspension on August 29.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik had announced an ex-gratia of Rs one lakh to the next of kin of Sunita Raita.