NHRC seeks report on Odisha farmers’ arrest

Bhubaneswar, Jan 29: The National Human Rights Commission has sought a report from Odisha over the arrest of farmers here last month, a petitioner said Wednesday.

Acting on a complaint filed by human rights activist Akhand, the commission directed Odisha’s Director General of Police Prakash Mishra to submit a report within four weeks.

Akhand in his petition alleged that at least 26 members of Nabanirman Krushak Sanghathan (NKS) — a farmers’ organisation — were arrested, including their leader Akshay Kumar, Dec 24 for blocking the chief minister’s convoy.

The NKS was demanding a compensation of Rs.2,000 per month to farmers affected by a cyclone in October and Rs.500 bonus for 100 kg of paddy over the minimum support price of Rs.1,350 a quintal.

The farmer activists held a sit-in demonstration in front of state assembly Dec 9, seeking an appointment with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, but they blocked Patnaik’s convoy after they failed to meet him.

Akhand added: “It is surprising that police slapped attempt to murder charge against the farmers, who were protesting peacefully. The incident shows misuse of power and violation of their human rights.”

He has also sought a compensation of Rs.50,000 to each of the arrested farmer and withdrawal of cases against them.

IANS