The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sent a notice to the Rajasthan government over reports of a “humiliating graffiti” found painted on the houses of 50,000 below poverty line (BPL) families in Dausa district.
The NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports that the following words were found written in Hindi on the houses of many BPL families in the region — I am poor, I take ration through the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
The commission on Wednesday observed that the reports about this kind of humiliation, if true, amounted to violation of the right to dignity of the beneficiaries under the NFSA. “No civilised society would ever appreciate such an imprudent and irrational act of the state authorities,” the NHRC said. Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the chief secretary of Rajasthan and sought a detailed report within four weeks, along with the details of the action taken against the guilty.
An old woman, belonging to the BPL category, had reportedly said that nobody liked to admit how poor they were, but when this (the graffiti) was the only way to get 15 kgs of wheat, there was no question of not getting it painted on her wall. A photograph of the woman standing against the wall with the words written on it was also published along with one of the media reports.
According to the reports published on June 23, Rajasthan Minister of Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Rajendra Rathore had denied that any such order was issued by the government to paint the words on the houses of BPL families and promised that the matter would be looked into.
He had also reportedly claimed that the practice of labelling the houses of BPL families in this manner was started by the previous Congress government in the state through an order dated August 6, 2009.
Quoting from the media reports, the NHRC said that allegedly, government officials offered to pay the beneficiaries Rs 750 if they painted the message on their walls.