NHRC seeks police report on Tata firing

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed East Singhbhum senior superintendent of police (SSP) Akhilesh Kumar Jha to file a report on steps taken by the police after the December 24 firing incident near Tata Steel's HSM gate in Jamshedpur.

Assistant registrar (law) of NHRC Krishna Kumar Srivastava issued the directive on January 25, which was received by the SSP's office on Tuesday. A copy of the directive was also sent to the state's IG (human rights) Vinay Kumar Pandey.

Speaking to The Telegraph from Delhi, Srivastava said a report from the SSP has been sought within four weeks from January 25, and the case featured in the cause list of the commission to be taken up on May 8, 2013.

"We expect the SSP to reply within the stipulated time. We may proceed with action as deemed proper if the authority do not respond," he said.

Jha said he had received the missive and would be sending the report on time.

The case was brought to the notice of NHRC through a petition filed by Jamshedpur-based human rights body Jharkhand Human Right Conference chief Manoj Mishra. The petition pointed out injuries sustained by workers and a photographer of a vernacular daily in the firing.

Mishra said he was forced to approach NHRC as he was not satisfied with the role of the police in the incident.

"I wrote to NHRC on January 7 and my petition was placed before the commission on January 24. The incident was a violation of human rights as thousands of contract workers were fired at for wanting to take their cycles inside the company premises. We demand stern action against the guilty and compensation of Rs 10 lakh in addition to permanent jobs for each of the injured contract workers and the photographer," said Mishra.

On December 24, an altercation between Tata Steel security guards and contract workers over taking bicycles inside company premises snowballed into rampage and arson. Nine persons suffered splinter injuries after security men fired upon the the contract workers near HSM gate under Burmamines police station.

The injured were offered treatment free of cost by Tata Steel at Tata Main Hospital. Company managing director H.M. Nerurkar later admitted it was "failure to coordinate and manage the situation."