A PIL has been filed in the Rajasthan High Court regarding unidentified dead bodies found in Indira Gandhi Canal (IGNP). The PIL says that from the year 2010 till 2019, in Rajasthan alone, 1822 dead bodies were found in the Indira Gandhi Canal, out of these only 260 bodies were identified and the remaining 1562 dead bodies were never identified.
The petition has prayed for the development of a system of netting in the canal along the state border of Haryana-Rajasthan to prevent the bodies from floating to Rajasthan from other states. The division bench of Justice Sangita Lodha and Vinit Kumar Mathur has admitted the PIL and issued notice to the Rajasthan government for the reply.
The petitioner Babu Ram Chouhan of Jaisalmer is a government teacher and social activist and filed the PIL based on the information he obtained through RTI. His counsel Razzak Khan submitted in the court that the Indira Gandhi Canal has become a safe haven for the criminals to dispose the dead bodies and get away with crimes such as murder, the disposal of unidentified dead bodies is not done properly according to the rituals and a violation of human rights is done.
The dead bodies are often buried in the field and later it becomes impossible to trace the body. The cases of finding unidentified dead bodies are piling in the police stations and are later closed without any action. These acts are a violation of the true spirit of fundamental rights enshrined under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India of the public at large.
The PIL said that petitioner moved a representation to concerned authorities to resolve the issue by netting at the Rajasthan-Haryana border. The authorities replied that if netting is done in the canal the moss which is floated in the water of the canal will get stuck in the net and the flow of water will be affected which may damage the canal itself.
The petitioner also moved a representation for the establishment of the special police station in the canal area but it was also denied and the authorities replied that the creation of new posts is banned due to extra financial burden in the light of the Covid pandemic.
The petitioner has also approached the National Human Rights Commission and Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission in this matter.
Razak Khan said that we have prayed to develop a system of netting in the canal along the state border of Haryana-Rajasthan and to establish a special police station for investigating such cases.
Notably, the IGNP is the longest canal in the state that originates from Harike Barrage in Punjab. The length of its feeder canal is 204 km out of which 170 km is in Punjab and Haryana while the length of the main canal is 445 km. the canal is known to be the lifeline of the north-western Rajasthan as it is the main source of irrigation and drinking water in the region.