Published: 13th September 2019
Children who were pierced with 'vels' for late TN CM Jayalalithaa's recovery to be compensated with Rs 25K each
In the complaint, Alexander said that the AIADMK's North Madras unit had forced the children, aged between five and ten, to pierce a 2 metre steel rod through their cheeks
Twenty children who were pierced with vels (steel spears) through their skin as part of the prayers for late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's speedy recovery when she was hospitalised in 2016, areto receive a compensation of Rs 25,000 each. The case came up for hearing at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) open hearing and camp sitting at the Anna centenary library in Kotturpuram on Thursday, after a complaint was filed by Cyril Alexander.
In the complaint, Alexander said that the AIADMK's North Madras unit had forced the children, aged between five and ten, to pierce a 2 metre steel rod through their cheeks. The police officials on duty have done nothing to stop the 'inhuman' act, the complaint said.
In his response, the Chennai city police commissioner stated that the incident took place with the consent of the children and their parents and that 'nobody has forced them'. The Additional Commissioner of Police, L&O, North Chennai stated thata case has been registered against the party cadres involved and the parents of the children and that disciplinary action had been taken against T Veerakumar, the inspector of police who had failed to prevent the incident. Recommending a compensation of Rs 25,000 for each child, the bench headed by Jyotika Kalra observed, "For such gross violation of human rights of the victim children, the State is vicariously liable."
The bench also stated that while the Additional Commissioner of Police, L&O, North Chennai informed the commission that 20 children had 'willingly participated' in the ritual, the medical records of only two children had been submitted before the commission. While two of the children have been traced, the police were instructed to track down the whereabouts of the remaining children.
The 'open hearing' organised by the National Human Rights Commission, despite being a judicial hearing, was not open to the public. Secretariat staff and police personnel at the entrance of each of the four court halls, refused entry to anyone other than the complainants and respondents. This led to heated arguments between those who accompanied victims, complainants and reporters and those standing guard. When asked why entry was restricted, the secretariat staff and police officials said that they had received orders only to allow those who had received summons for the hearing.