New Delhi [India], June 14 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday sought an Action Taken Report (ATR) from the Union Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary of Odisha over a petiton claiming denial and deprivation of bare human rights to Meera Devi, an ailing octogenarian freedom fighter from Bhadrak district of Odisha.
Acting on separate petitions filed by Supreme Court lawyer and noted human rights activist, Radhakanta Tripathy, the NHRC passed the order today.
The NHRC sought the ATRs from both the authorities within four weeks.
Hailing from a family of freedom fighters, where most of her family members were jailed and tortured by the British, Meera Devi, spouse of Late Gour Chandra Mohapatra, a renowned freedom fighter from Bhadrak district of Odisha, has been denied freedom fighters pension by Union Home Ministry on silly grounds for more than two years, Tripathy alleged.
She has been deprived of medical care by the State Government of Odisha by not providing her free and appropriate medicare, when she was suffering from Covid and being in ICU in AMRI Hospital in Bhubaneswar now, Tripathy said.
"Extremely pained and deeply shocked by the deliberate negligence and inaction by the State administration of Odisha and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India," Tripathy filed the petition.
"I am constrained to bring the plight of Meera Devi, aged about 87, has been battling for survival with health complication with much financial difficulties. Such shameless situation continues despite the issue is known to the State and Central administration," Tripathy mentioned in his petition.
The plea filed by Tripathy contended that currently Meera Devi has been battling for life at AMRI hospital, Bhubaneswar.
All the due formalities for disbursement of (Spouse) family pension for Meera Devi have been complied with by the victim, despite her ailment, extreme old age and immobility.
Meera Devi is the widow of late Gour Chandra Mohapatra, a renowned freedom fighter who had died on September 11, 2018.
She had informed about her plight to the concerned authorities. However, the authorities have not paid any heed to the grievance and legitimate rights of the victim, Tripathy said.
"If this is the situation of a woman, whose father-in-law has authored the State Anthem Bande-Utkal-Janani and whose husband remained in jail for freedom of India, then it can well be imagined what would be the situation for other freedom fighters families.
"The Freedom Fighters Rehabilitation Division under the Ministry of Home Affairs is well aware of it but fails to disburse the pension even after two years of the demise of the husband of the victim. The children of the victim have been running from pillar to post seeking justice but to no avail, Tripathy alleged.
During Covid, there is a high requirement of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine in the state. However, none of such machines is in operational mode as of now in the entire state, Tripathy said.
"The failure of the State in ensuring functional ECMO machines results in frequent deaths and shifting of super-rich patients and top bureaucrats to other States for treatment causing thereby loss of exchequer, poor health care and migration of super rich patients during the pandemic," Tripathy further alleged.
"The victim will die without justice in case the State ensures her free but appropriate medical care and early disbursal of her pension with arrears for her expenditure. The pitiful, shameful and shocking condition of the victim continues as of now," the petition pointed out.
As a native of the same district, Tripathy requested the Commission to act on the case on a war footing for her medical care and release of pension with interest. "What could be a worse human rights violation than this?", Tripathy questioned.
Mentioning the inaction, negligence and failure of the Government machineries put a black spot and creates an abominable phenomenon to the democratic fabric of India, Tripathy requested the NHRC to ensure payment of pension with arrears with a 9 per cent rate of interest per year.
He also requested for reimbursement of all medical charges for her and to take legal action against the errant, delinquent public officials for whose fault the unreasonable delay for payment of pension has been caused and to pay compensatioe of Rs 3 lakh rupees for the trauma and stigma faced by Meera Devi till date. (ANI)