Dimapur, 9 August (MTNews): Continuing its relentless endeavor to ensure the protection and promotion of human rights across the state, Justice Songkhupchung Serto, the Chairperson of the Nagaland State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), embarked on a district visit to Central Jail and East Police Station in Dimapur on 8 August 2023. This marked the chairperson’s second such visit since assuming office, with plans to extend this outreach to other districts as well.
During his visit, the chairperson meticulously inspected the premises of the jails, gaining an unfiltered understanding of the prevailing conditions and the circumstances faced by the incarcerated individuals. He emphasized that the establishment of the SHRC in the state in March was a landmark occurrence, with the Human Rights Commission entrusted to safeguard human rights and ensure that the responsible authorities fulfill their duty of protection. He pointed out that if authorities fail to promptly act to prevent violations of human rights, the commission possesses the authority to address these cases against the relevant authorities.
Serto elaborated that he and his team undertook these visits to acquaint themselves with the operational dynamics and systems, assessing the adequacy of efforts to prevent human rights violations and ensuring proper protection. He highlighted that a significant number of complaints involve alleged violations by the police, underscoring the importance of understanding their operational mechanisms, infrastructure, resources, and the treatment of inmates within the state.
Further expounding on their outreach, he informed that seminars will be organized, bringing together two to three districts, starting from Kohima and Dimapur. Prominent leaders from various societies and communities will be invited to these seminars, aimed at enhancing awareness and ensuring that people can avail the benefits offered by the commission.
During interactions, officials apprised that the prison service grapples with the healthcare burden imposed by ailing prisoners, particularly issues related to mental health and substance misuse. The need for regular full-time doctors and nurses at the Central Jail, as well as other healthcare facilities, was stressed. The officers further informed the chairperson that vocational training is being provided to inmates by NGOs and PMKJVY, covering areas such as tailoring, handicrafts, and sanitary pad production. Notably, a stall showcasing the works of inmates will be exhibited for the first time at the 77th Independence Day celebrations in Dimapur.
According to the report from the Central Jail, the construction of premises for a women’s cell is currently underway. The total inmate population at the Central Jail, Dimapur, as of 8 August 2023, includes 250 individuals: 179 under trials, 15 held under the National Security Act (NSA), 43 convicts (R.I), 12 convicts (S.I), and 1 foreign national (Nigeria).
Furthermore, as of the report date of 8 August 2023, the comparative crime statistics for the East Police Station indicate: theft – 84; cheating – 08; extortion – 13; causing death due to negligence – 07; other IPC (Indian Penal Code) offenses – 04; Arms Act – 15; NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act – 23; NLTP (Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition) Act – 35; NSR (Nagaland Security Regulation) 62 – 04; other special laws – 02; suicides; Unnatural Death (UD) Cases – 11.
Established in March 2023, in alignment with other State Commissions, the Nagaland State Human Rights Commission is a statutory body founded under the Human Rights Act 1993. The commission wields the authority of a civil court, governed by the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), enabling it to address cases of violations, and work towards the prevention and promotion of human rights. The commission is now operational, and individuals with grievances related to human rights violations, prevention, or protection are encouraged to approach the commission for resolution.