Rights panel lens on jails

S. Jalaja, the special rapporteur of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), will reach the state on January 29 on a five-day visit to review complaints of child abuse and human rights violations in various jails.

A retired Bihar cadre IAS officer, Jalaja would hold meetings with the chief secretary, home secretary, the director-general of police and other senior government officers in Patna during her stay in the state, sources said.

According to a letter sent to Bihar chief secretary Ashok Kumar Sinha by NHRC joint secretary A.K. Srivastava recently, Jalaja would review the complaints of child abuse reported in Purnea, Kishanganj, Araria, Begusarai and Samastipur districts.

Her visit to Bihar assumes significance in the wake of rising number of complaints of human rights violations in various jails of the state.

Sources in the home department said at least eight cases of child abuse have been reported from the five districts. The NHRC also received complaints about the modalities adopted for the selection of chairpersons and members of child welfare committees and juvenile justice boards.

Jalaja would visit jails in Gaya, Jamui amd Jehanabad and meet district magistrates and superintendents of police concerned. She would also take stock of various development schemes for people belonging to scheduled castes in the three districts.

A senior state government official said Jalaja, who retired from the post of the secretary to the government of India, would visit remand homes for women and juveniles to find the basic facilities provided to the inmates.

She would conclude her visit on February 2 and submit her report to the commission.

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