The director-general (DG) of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Government of India, has declared that the bureau cannot revise the new template for capturing the number of murders of right to information (RTI) users, social activists, whistleblowers and mediapersons separately, in addition to the instances of grievous hurts, separately, so that these could be counted as human rights violations.
The DG, NCRB, who is a serving officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS), said this in reply to a letter written by Baijayant (Jay) Panda, Member of Parliament (MP) in the Lok Sabha from Odisha. Currently, there is no way of differentiating the thousands of other murders from these attacks on human rights activists.
Panda had simultaneously suggested that such information be passed on to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and also placed constitutional and statutory authorities for prompt remedial action. The NCRB’s reply is quiet about this as well.
Panda’s plea to the DG, NCRB followed senior activist Venkatesh Nayak’s insistence that the revised template the NCRB for capturing data of attack on mediapersons, whistleblowers, attack on RTI/social activists should not be counted as simple murders but as human rights violations. He had underlined, the country’s cops should be trained on how to differentiate the attack of these from ordinary murders and other crimes, otherwise it would not serve the desired purpose of finding out how human rights were being violated.
Nayak says, the NCRB reply to the MP – that “disaggregate data capture and disclosure is not a feasible proposition” – has come “awkwardly in the face of the NCRB's own record of capturing data about the motivation for murders presented in the Crime in India Reports year after year.”
A standard feature of such annual reports current records the following reasons for murder and culpable-homicide-not-amounting-to-murder along with the number of victims of such crime, namely ‘gain’, ‘property dispute’, ‘personal vendetta or enmity’, ‘dowry’, ‘witchcraft’, ‘child/human sacrifice’, ‘communalism’, ‘casteism’, ‘political reasons’, ‘honour killing’, ‘rape’, ‘gang rape’, ‘love affairs’, ‘illicit relationships’, ‘kidnapping and abduction’ and ‘class conflict’ and ‘lunacy.
Wonders Nayak, “So why is it so difficult to add four more categories, namely, ‘RTI activists’, ‘social activists’, ‘whistleblowers’ and ‘mediapersons’ in the monthly data collection template?”
As for sending this data month on month to authorities such as the NHRC and other similarly placed bodies, the NCRB replies that this would be difficult as such data is not regularly supplied by the states and union territories.
However, the NCRB has assured the MP that when the web-based Crime and Criminal Tracking and Networking and Systems – CCTNS – a mission mode project becomes fully functional, such sharing of information would be possible. Until then, the NCRB says, it would not be able to update the information on its website either.
Comments Nayak, this suggests, till CCTNS takes shape, “data about murders of RTI activists, social activists, whistleblowers and mediapersons will not become officially transparent.”
He asks, “When the NCRB has started the task of collecting monthly data on attacks on RTI users, social activists, whistleblowers and mediapersons, why should available data not be placed on its website?”
He adds, “It is most unfortunate that the NCRB has adopted a go-slow attitude towards the serious phenomenon of attacks on well meaning do-gooder citizens who are risking their lives every day to unearth and expose corruption, human rights violations and other kinds of wrong doing.”