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Police brutality on Sarathi protestors under NHRC scanner

-- Odisha Chief Secretary, DGP asked for report
Bhubaneswar, August 14: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought an action-taken report (ATR) from the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police (DGP) over the blatant human rights violation at Sarathi Ashram in Kendrapara district.

Acting on a petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer and rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy, the NHRC registered a case in this regard and sought an ATR within four weeks.

Notably, lawyers, journalists and other people, including women activist Mamata Samamntaray, were beaten brutally by police in Kendrapara on August 6 and 7 for demonstrating demanding arrest of controversial self-styled godman Srimad Sarathi alias Santosh Raul. The police excess and brutality continued violating all the norms and parameters of human rights, Tripathy alleged in his petition.

Police resorted to unprovoked baton charging on protesters and destroyed vehicles. The police selectively searching for people involved in protest against the wrongdoings of self-styled godman, Sarathi Baba and beating them up. Photo journalists were reportedly assaulted by the cops during the pitched battle when they were trying to cover the incident. The cops have damaged the private properties such as bikes, cars and houses too, the petitioner contended.

The failure of the State government to act over the issue of fake spiritual-leaders, self styled godman, rampant corruption by them and their associates amounts to serious violation of human rights. The illicit affairs and obscene acts with cheating to common man pose serious threat to basic human rights. The inaction of government in nailing out the truth beneath the activities and police brutality on common man and attack on journalists proves severe human rights violation by State mechanism, Tripathy alleged.

He requested the commission to direct the Chief Secretary and the DGP to arrest the culprits and take legal action against them and pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the victims and direct the state to expedite probe and trials in cases related to the offences.

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