West Bengal-based human rights organisation Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) has sought urgent intervention of the National Human Rights Commission of India to ensure sanitation facility – a basic human rights – for 226 families of three enclaves in India.
In an appeal submitted on Tuesday, MASUM Secretary Kirity Roy said that hundreds of erstwhile enclave dwellers had been facing indignity and humiliation as “they are being forced to defecate in open, which is a severe violation of right to life with dignity as per Article 21 of the Indian constitution.”
Before the swap in 2015, Bangladesh had 52 enclaves with an area of 2,877 hectares inside India while India had 111 with an area of 6,944 hectares inside Bangladesh.
The petition was filed for erstwhile enclave dwellers of Shibaprasad Mustafi, Dakkhin Mashaldanga and Maddhya Mashaldanga under Cooch Behar district of West Bengal.
Only 17 families out of 67 at Shibaprasad Mustafi and only 10 out of 102 families at Maddhya Mashaldanga received government assistance to construct latrines while all the 84 families in Dakkhin Mashaldanga were deprived from the facility.
“The administration is marred by partisan attitude and only provided assistance to the families having connection with ruling political dispensation of the state,” MASUM said quoting villagers.
Though the government was advertising their intention to provide sanitation facility to its entire citizens, and spending millions on this initiative, “the erstwhile enclave dwellers are still living under medieval disgrace,” said the letter sent to the chairman of the Indian NHRC.
Even the women and girls have to walk over 500 metres to go to latrines or attend their nature’s call in open fields, which only increases sexual violence upon them, the letter reads.
MASUM expresses concern suggesting that inadequate sanitation leads to contamination of the environment, of public spaces, and of water bodies through feces and waste water.
The resolution (64/292 of 28 July 2010) of General Assembly recognised 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.