By Suchitra Kalyan Mohanty
New Delhi [India], April 2 (ANI): Just like in typical Bollywood potboiler movies where crooks falsely declare a person dead in government official records and grab his land, money, and property, something on similar lines happened with a former cook of many Bollywood celebrities, including actor Nana Patekar.
Santosh Kumar Singh was declared dead in the revenue records of the Uttar Pradesh state government. Singh's only fault probably was that he married a Dalit girl in 2003, against his (Thakur caste) family's wishes.
Recently, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought an inquiry report from the District Magistrate, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh as to how a person alive was declared dead in the revenue records.
Acting on a petition filed by noted rights campaigner and human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer, Radhakanta Tripathy, the NHRC passed the order and sought the report within four weeks.
Tripathy in his plea, to the NHRC, sought necessary action against the guilty officials for depriving him of all his (Singh's) legitimate and constitutional rights.
Tripathy has alleged that the victim, Santosh K Singh, a former cook of many Bollywood celebrities, was wrongly declared dead and a death certificate falsely issued in his name, as he married a Dalit girl against the wishes of his high caste family and relatives.
"The victim is alive and has approached various authorities regarding this but the same was of no avail," he said.
Tripathy claimed that Singh's cousins targeted him for marrying a Dalit girl in 2003. The villagers too refused to recognise Singh after his cousins got his name removed from the land records and declared him 'dead'.
The petitioner, Tripathy, alleged that his relatives have wrongly removed his name from land records by declaring him dead. Singh waged a battle to get back his 12.1 acre-land in Chittoni village in Varanasi district, which was allegedly usurped by his cousins after they claimed he had died.
"To utter dismay, apathy, and negligence, Singh had to spend more than a decade trying to prove to officials that he is alive after his high caste relatives declared him dead following a row over his decision to marry a Dalit woman," Tripathy pointed out.
Tripathy alleged that no wrongdoer has been punished for allegedly issuing the death certificate and also for the crime of caste-based discrimination for marrying a girl belonging to a scheduled caste and no compensation has been paid to the victim.
Negligence and failure of the police and Government authorities in acting over the issue pose a serious question of human rights, he added.
He further alleged that Singh's relatives wrongly removed his name from land records by declaring him dead and said that the complainant is seeking Commission's intervention for necessary action.
The NHRC observed that the matter pertains to the Revenue Department, further inquiry may be conducted by them.
"The District Magistrate, Varanasi, UP is directed to conduct an inquiry into the specific allegation as to how a living person was declared dead in the revenue records and necessary action be taken against the guilty officials. An Action Taken Report (ATR) be submitted to the Commission within four weeks. Put up after four weeks," the NHRC said.
The petitioner also sought direction from the NHRC to pay compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the victim for illegal issuance of a death certificate and abuse of the law by the public authorities, action against the errant govt officials immediately as per law, and recommend steps to be taken to prevent such occurrence in the future in the interest of justice and protection of human rights. (ANI)