NGO seeks NHRC intervention in pellet firing on Bengal woman

Kolkata, Oct 21 (IANS) An NGO on Friday sought the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) intervention in alleged firing from pellet guns by forest guards on a woman in West Bengal as she was collecting firewood for household use.

In a letter to NHRC Chairman Justice H.L. Dattu (retd), Masum secretary Kirity Roy said the forest guards involved in the firing at the Jaldapara National Park recently should be booked in a criminal case and the woman and her family should be given adequate compensation and protection.

“The incident must be probed by your own investigating agency. The accused guards must be booked,” Roy said in his letter to the NHRC.

He sought investigation into the alleged involvement of Madarihat police station personnel in the case.

“The accused forest guards did not even consider the woman’s plea to arrest her and paid no need to her saying that she was ready to surrender,” the plea said.

He said the victim was still bedridden and her family was in severe financial crisis.

“Though, her husband made a police complaint, which is duly registered, in an all-out effort to shield the erring forest guards, the police have not arrested them till date,” the NGO’s letter said.

“Rather, they implicated the victim in a criminal case, where initially forest guards lodged a complaint against unknown accused,” Roy said.

Roy said the incident was a “total contravention of Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees protection of life and personal liberty”.

“The trigger-happy forest guards also violated the international obligations and the basic principles on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials,” Roy’s letter added.