NHRC objects to use of psychiatrists-Sandeep Joshi
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a report from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on the Centre’s reported plans of using psychiatrists to counsel activists protesting against the 1,000 MW Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu. The NHRC termed it “a check on the freedom of speech/expression.”
Asking the MHA to submit its report by July 25, the NHRC’s Law Division, acting on a complaint of Delhi-based RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, said: “It is alleged that the Union government has decided to use psychiatrists to counsel activists opposing the Kudankulam nuclear [power] plant in Tamil Nadu. This appears to be a check on the freedom of speech/expression.”
Issuing notice to the Home Secretary to submit its report by July 25, the NHRC said it would take up the case at a public hearing in Chennai in the first week of August. In case the MHA fails to submit its report, “the Commission may proceed to take such action as it deems proper,” said the NHRC order issued on July 3.
“There have been many occasions when the government has been able to carry on firmly with its decisions through talks and strategically designed moves if the bitter decisions opposed by activists and others were in the larger national interest and perspective. But such brainwashing of people opposing a particular government decision, in the name of psychiatric approach, cannot be held justified in any manner,” he said.