New Delhi: Complying with National Human Rights Commission`s direction, Goa government has paid monetary relief to 737 villagers who were victims of police action during their protest against alleged illegal mining.
In a statement released on Monday, the Commission said that it not only recommended, but also ensured that Goa Government paid Rs 5,000 each to 737 villagers, whose human rights were violated in police action when they were protesting to stop illegal mining activities in and around village Carvem.
The state government has submitted proof of payment of a sum of Rs 36.85 lakh paid to the victims and informed the NHRC that two members of a family refused to accept the financial relief, while three persons had expired.
The Commission directed the Goa`s Additional Secretary, Department of Home (General) to make payment, within four weeks, to the heirs of the three persons who had expired.
"In their complaint to the Commission, the villagers had alleged that they had been suffering from air and noise pollution as the mining truck owners and companies were plying their vehicles beyond the Government stipulated time.
"The local police, instead of sympathising with them, had unleashed a reign of terror on innocent villagers and lathi-charged them," the statement said.
In response to the Commission`s notice, the atate government had admitted that some truck owners had violated the stipulated time schedule to operate trucks in the mining area and action was taken against them.
The villagers were also apprehended under Section 151 Cr.P.C. For blocking the roads and movement of mining transport.
However, the Commission said that the state government did not make it clear whether the mining activities were going on in the area legally or illegally.
It took note of the state government`s submission that separate cases and a Commission of Enquiry under Justice M.B. Shah was looking into the issue of illegal mining, but also observed that human rights of the villagers protesting against illegal mining were violated.
Therefore, it issued a notice to the Goa Chief Secretary to show cause why monetary relief should not be paid to the victims of police action.
Having received no response on merit, the Commission recommended the amount of monetary relief after which the state government, while admitting the delay in response to show cause notice, requested the Commission to reconsider its decision as the economy of the state had been affected badly due to stoppage of mining activities.
The Commission did not accept this contention and eventually had to issue conditional summons for the personal appearance of the Chief Secretary seeking a compliance report on its recommendation.
In response, the Additional Secretary, Department of Home (General) submitted the proof of payment of monetary relief, the statement said.