Date: July 17, 2018

The National Human Rights Commission has published its probe report relating to Maleth police firing that had killed five persons and had injured several others on March 6, 2017 in Maleth of Saptari district. A constitutional body like the NHRC should always strive to provide justice to the victims of human rights violence giving priority to the protection of human rights and individuals’ lives and properties but this body failed to do that in this case. This report also raises question of transparency, work efficiency and effectiveness of the NHRC. THRD Alliance, therefore, urges the NHRC to perform its activities in an accountable and effective manner ensuring transparency and impartiality.

The NHRC had formed a high level probe commission under former Justice of the Supreme Court Tahir Ali Ansari to investigate Maleth incident. This commission submitted its report to the NHRC on June 12, 2017. Some human rights activists expressed their dissatisfaction over this report following which the NHRC clarified on July 16, 2017 that the report was still under its consideration. And one year after this, the NHRC made that report public yesterday. This raises a natural question as to what difficulties the NHRC faced in this period and why there was so much delay in publishing the report. The report published by the NHRC says that the United Democratic Madhesi Front and the erstwhile CPN-UML were primarily responsible for the incident but even when the report ascertained that five people were killed by security personnel, the report has not held the security personnel and state mechanisms accountable for the incident.

Although the report clearly states that the security personnel did not follow legal rules before firing shots, security personnel resorted to indiscriminate firing and the security personnel fired shots and beat people after taking them under their control, the report, however, argues that such acts cannot be called excessive use of force, which is narrow- minded, prejudiced and irresponsible from human rights points of view. The report states that 1500 to 2000 security personnel were deployed around the incident place who had been controlling the protesters from morning to evening. The report has failed to state who issued the order to fire bullets on the protesters. Therefore, the report has misinterpreted the international criteria for use of force such as legality, necessity, and proportionality.

The report states that the bullets were fired above the waist but it also says that had the bullets not been fired, the situation could have caused more loss. Thus the report is based on unfounded fear. THRD Alliance, therefore, expresses its strong objection to the report’s misinterpretation and urges the NHRC and the government to order an impartial and independent probe into the incident.

People are frustrated that even after almost two years; the victims of Maleth incident have not been able to know the facts of the incident. Nor have they got justice. Injured persons have not been able to get appropriate relief and compensation. Since Maleth, a part of Saptari is in province-2, we would also like to strongly urge the Province-2 government to order a high-level probe commission to investigate the incident and to ensure justice to the victims.


Raksha Ram Harijan

Media & Communication Coordinator