National Human Rights Commission
Manav Adhikar Bhawan, Block-C, GPO Complex, INA,
New Delhi – 110023
I wish to bring into your notice a severe violation regarding right to life with dignity as confer by the Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The hundreds of erstwhile enclave dwellers are facing indignity and humiliation while they are being forced to defecate in open. Though, the governments are advertising their intention to provide clean sanitation facility to its entire citizen, and spending millions on this initiative; the erstwhile enclave dwellers are still living under medieval disgrace. Even the women and girls have to cross half of kilometers to attend their nature’s call; they have to attend in open field and within full public glare; which only increasing sexual violence upon women and girls.
Defecation is a very personal and private act and inextricably linked with human dignity. At the same time, sanitation facilities have an important public health dimension. In this regard, sanitation is not only about an individual’s right to have access to a toilet or latrine. Inadequate sanitation leads to contamination of the environment, of public spaces, and of water bodies through feces and wastewater.
The resolution (64/292 of 28 July 2010) of General Assembly recognized the right to safe and drinking water and sanitation as human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.
Here I am providing details of three erstwhile enclaves; Shibaprasad Mustafi, Dakkhin Mashaldanga and Maddhya Mashaldanga under Cooch Behar district of West Bengal.
At Shibaprasad Mustafi, only 17 families out of 67 were extended with governmental assistance to construct latrines and 50 families are excluded. On 28.01.2017, the villagers submitted a memorandum with mass signature to the District Magistrate; Cooch Behar and blamed that the administration only provided the assistance to the families having connection with ruling political party. The dwellers of Dakkhin Mashaldanga made a deputation before the District Magistrate with signatures of family heads of 84 families with their family details; all these 84 families were deprived from the facility. At Maddhya Mashaldanga the situation is same as Shibaprasad Mustafi; where 10 families out of 102 families received the assistance to construct latrines; 92 families deprived from the assistance. The villagers submitted a memorandum before the District Magistrate; Cooch Behar, requested for the assistance and blamed that the administration is marred by partisan attitude and only provided assistance to the families having connection with ruling political dispensation of the state.
In this regard I request your good office to direct the relevant authority to take immediate action and extend the governmental assistance to all families of erstwhile enclaves to construct latrines at their dwellings under relevant governmental schemes and for this purpose no discriminatory or partisan attitude from governmental departments should be taking on.
National Convener, PACTI