New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission has asked the railways to explain why they shouldn't pay a Rs 1 lakh compensation to the family of a passenger who was stabbed to death on a train after refusing an extortion demand from alleged eunuchs.
The commission has also asked the railway authorities to explain what they have done to curb the threat of eunuchs harassing train passengers in various parts of the country.
Activist lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy had complained to the rights body in November last year about the murder of Mahervan Devipujak, a young man from Madhya Pradesh, on the Jabalpur-Somnath Express a few days earlier.
He said that two alleged eunuchs, Mahi Kunwar and Shalini, had demanded Rs 100 from Devipujak while the train was passing through Nadiad in Gujarat, and stabbed him when he refused.
J.N. Bodat, a sub-inspector attached to the nearby Anand railway police station, too had reported the incident, the complaint added.
According to Tripathy, extortion by eunuchs has become a problem at various railway stations and must be curbed. He has cited the example of the stretch between Jajpur and Bhadrak railway stations in Odisha, where he says extortion by eunuchs is rampant.
Tripathy has alleged that extortion of passengers inside trains, in the garb of begging for alms, is a serious violation of human rights and sought the commission's intervention.
After satisfying itself prima facie about the contents of the complaint, the commission said the incident reflected clear negligence on the part of the railways, who had failed to prevent gross violation of a passenger's human rights inside a train.
"Therefore, the chairman, railway board, is directed to show cause under Section 18(a)(i) of the PHR (Protection of Human Rights) Act, 1993, as to why a compensation of Rs 100,000 should not be recommended to be paid to the next of kin of the deceased within six weeks," its order said.
"The compliance report must indicate what steps have been taken by the railway authorities to prevent repetition of such incidents in future. Response within six weeks."