Acting upon a complaint lodged on the basis of the news report, ‘Minor shot dead in Jharkhand, locals blame police’, published in The Indian Express on March 21, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has admitted the case (No. 10/34/0/09-10), while conceding that prima facie it seemed to be a violation of human rights. Praveen Kejriwal, the complainant, who is a tenth semester student of Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar, and a domicile of Godda District in Jharkhand, said, “After reading the news report, where I found there had been a gross violation of human rights by the state agency (namely, the police), I approached the NHRC on March 23, and on April 8, the commission informed me that the case has been admitted.”
The aforementioned news item had revealed that a minor boy had been killed in police firing on the morning of March 20, 2009 in Khunti district of Jharkhand. The incident occurred around six in the morning when 13-year-old Budhram Munda and his 14-year-old friend Etwa Purti were plucking mahua flowers in a forest in Khunti district.
While Munda died on the spot, Purti’s was admitted to the Ranchi Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in a critical condition. Though the source of the bullets was contentious, Purti had alleged that he had been injured in police firing. He said, “We saw policemen get down from the jeep and open indiscriminate fire on us.”
Meanwhile, the police, as reported, accepted that a team engaged in anti-naxal operations had gone to the village where the said incident had occurred on that fateful morning but denied that any firing had taken place.
When Prabhat Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Khunti, was asked about the NHRC’s admission of case, he expressed ignorance about the issue.
However, he added, “We have carried out an inter-departmental enquiry, in which we examined the arms carried by the police team on that day and have also sought expert opinion. The enquiry committee has acquitted the concerned police team of any wrong,” Kumar added.
He further added that the People’s Liberation Front of India, a Naxal organisation active in that district may have fired on the minors to malign the police.”
Gaurav Sharma, ExpressIndia.COM. Apr 11, 2009