Revive AHRC: MASS tells Sonowal
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Dec 23: The Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is ‘out of commission’! It has been ‘unmanned’ for the past few days. Its lone member completed his five-year term on December 15 and demitted office.
The BJP government in the State is yet to initiate the process for appointment of a new chairperson in the three-member AHRC.
While Dr Justice Aftab Hussain Saikia completed his five-year term as the Chairperson of the Commission on November 30 last, the post of one member has been lying vacant since February, 2013. Justice Saikia is a former Chief Justice of the High Courts of Sikkim and Jammu & Kashmir. As though cap it all, Tarun Phookan, Judicial Member of the AHRC, demitted office as member on completion of his term of five years on December 15. Phookan, who is a former District & Sessions Judge, was also the Member, Foreigners’ Tribul at Mangaldoi, Darrang before joining as a Judicial Member of the Assam Human Rights Commission.
The Mab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS) is worried over the currently plight of the AHRC. MASS’ chief adviser Bubumoni Goswami and chairman Jagat Bokolial said in a statement: “Apart from Army and police personnel, various armed outfits and miscreants have been active in the State. They’re violating human rights as often as not. In such a situation, the only neutral and independent rights body is the AHRC. The void created by the AHRC becoming defunct has virtually closed the door for people to knock seeking justice against human rights violation. The AHRC has come to such a pass because of lack of goodwill on the part of the State government in protecting the rights of people in the State.”
The MASS has demanded of the State Government to appoint apolitical and neutral candidatures as the AHRC Chairman and members soon so as to revive the Commission. MASS chief adviser Bubumoni Goswami has also sent a letter to Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal in this connection.
“The halt to the publication of AHRC’s newsletter and AHRC workshops duce to cash crunch is a matter to be lamented,” the MASS adviser said, and demanded of the government to provide adequate funds to the AHRC.