Taking suo motu cognisance of allegations of illegal sand mining in coastal Kerala, National Human Rights Commission today asked the state government to file a report within two weeks.
According to an NHRC statement, notices have been issued over media reports about a woman from Kerala accompanied by her three young children protesting at Jantar Mantar here for action against sand mining mafia. It was reported that the woman came to Delhi as an assurance from the Chief Minister, subsequent to a 64-day- long sit-in by the woman, Jazeera V, outside the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram, failed to yield any result.
Notices in this regard were issued to Kerala Chief Secretary and district collector of Kannur. The Commission has given the authorities two weeks time to respond to the allegations, the statement said. They have also been asked to inform about the legislative and administrative actions taken by the Kerala government for preventing illegal and indiscriminate mining of sand from the riverbeds and seashores, with particular reference to the Kannur district and to the allegations of Jazeera.
Earlier, considering the matter an issue of protection of human rights, NHRC Member Justice Cyriac Joseph, accompanied by the officers of the Commission, visited the venue of the sit-in agitation by the woman. During the visit, Jazeera reiterated her allegations that illegal sand mining in her hometown in district Kunnur has led to shrinking of the coastal area. The houses were getting flooded during monsoon and there was an imminent danger of losing the environment, which needed to be kept for the future generations.
The Commission has observed that "no doubt, illegal and indiscriminate mining of sand from the riverbeds and seashores raises serious environmental problems and threat to human rights. "It looks strange that 64 days sit-in agitation by Jazeera outside the Government Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram did not produce any tangible result and it is unbelievable that the assurance stated to have been given by the Chief Minister of the State was not honoured and the illegal sand mining is continuing," the statement said. The matter deserved to be enquired into by the Commission, it further said.
The Commission has also expressed concern over discontinuation of school education of Jazeera's two daughters, Rizvana (12) and Shifana (10) as they are part of her sit-in agitation. It also observed that it would appear that Jazeera is ignoring her parental duty under Article 51 A (K) of the Constitution and Section 10 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. Thus, action may be necessary to protect the right to education of her two daughters.