SIVASAGAR, May 2 – The Assam Human Right Commission (AHRC) has taken suo moto cognizance of the boat tragedy near Dhubri on April 30 in which nearly 200 passengers have reportedly been drowned.
Expressing serious concern at the loss of so many precious lives, a two-member Division Bench of AHRC comprising Justice Dr Aftab H Saikia, chairperson and Jyoti Prasad Chaliha, Member, AHRC issued notice to the Chief Secretary and Commissioner and Secretary, Assam Inland Water Transport Department to inquire into the matter and to inform the Commission if there is any guideline/norms to ensure safety of boat/ferry travellers, whether the ferries/boats are equipped with life-saving equipment and, if any, then what are the measures to enforce them and which are the enforcing authority to supervise these safety and security measures.
The Commission also directed to inform the Commission if there is any method to prevent overcrowding of ferries and boats. According to AHRC direction, the reports must reach the AHRC within a month from now.
The Commission also took up suo moto cognizance of the case in which a 9-year-old girl was subjected to inhuman torture by one Mandira Phookan Choudhury at Jorhat, and issued notices to Jorhat District Magistrate and Jorhat Superintendent of Police to inquire into the case and to submit report within 21 days.
The AHRC also took suo moto cognizance of the case in which a 38-year-old widow was made pregnant by a school teacher. Being excommunicated and ostracized by her family and relatives, the woman had to take shelter under canopy of trees in a forest where she had delivered a child.