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Extrajudicial killing of a tribal in Madhya Pradesh, NHRC directs State to pay Rs. 5 lakh and action against erring policemen

On 26.06.2019, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) reiterated its order to the Chief Secretary, State Government of Madhya Pradesh to pay compensation to next of kin (NoK) of a tribal, Balram Singh, son of Rem Singh, who was extrajudicially killed by forest guards inside a forest in Khargone district on 18 January 2013.

In its previous order dated 14.02.2019, the Commission recommended to the State Government of Madhya Pradesh to pay an additional amount of Rs. 4 lakhs to the NoK of the deceased Balram, in addition to 1 lakh already paid by the State Government which was found inadequate by the Commission. The Commission also directed the Chief Secretary/Director General of Police, Madhya Pradesh to submit action taken report on the following:

i) Necessary sanction for prosecution in case FIR No.09/13 dated 19.1.13 P.S. Balwada, Distt. Khargaon.

ii) Appropriate action against the erring police officials in not intimating about the death of Balram to this Commission.

iii) Issue circulars to all the police officers/Heads of the District to strictly enforce the guidelines of the Commission dated 12.5.2010.

In its latest order, the Commission directed the Chief Secretary to submit the compliance report along with the proof of payment, while the DGP was reminded to submit the action taken report against the erring police officials and status of the circular to all the police officers/Heads of the District to strictly enforce and follow the guidelines of the Commission dated 12.05.2010.

Earlier in response to the Commission’s recommendation, Additional Chief Conservator of Forest (Conservation), Madhya Pradesh vide communication dated 14.12.2018 had submitted that the matter was enquired by Chief Forest Conservator, Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh and as per his enquiry report, the death of Balram did not take place on the spot and later on, his dead body was placed at the place of occurrence. Accordingly, the State Government expressed its unwillingness to pay the additional compensation recommended by the Commission.

However, the Commission found no merit in this contention after it concluded that the deceased died due to unwarranted firing by the forest guards on the basis of reports submitted before it.

The NHRC intervened pursuant to a complaint filed by the Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network (AITPN) on 29.01.2013. AITPN alleged that the deceased along with his father Rem Singh and another relative were returning home from Jawar village under Balwada police station in Khargone district on the night of 18 January 2013 through a forest when they were asked to stop by two forest guards. When they did not stop the forest guards fired at them without giving any warning and Balram Singh was killed on the spot. ACHR, inter alia, sought directions to the State Government of Madhya Pradesh to take appropriate legal action against the accused forest guards and payment of adequate compensation.

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