Maharashtra gets Supreme Court notice on protection of migrants (Lead, combining different series)

November 10th, 2008 - 7:55 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) In wake of recent attacks on migrants in Mumbai, the Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the Maharashtra government on the protection of non-Maharashtrians in the state, even as it ruled out a judicial probe into the killing of Rahul Raj, a youth from Patna, who was shot dead by the Mumbai police after he hijacked a commuter bus at gunpoint last month.A bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan sought a reply from the state government in four weeks on the allegations that it had failed to take effective steps to check the violence, first during a railway recruitment examination and subsequently after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray’s arrest.

The court, however, dismissed a petition demanding that the cases against Thackeray be transferred outside Maharashtra, saying the state police should take appropriate action against him.

In its notice, the court asked the government of Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh about the steps it had taken to protect the life and property of people from outside the state.

The court’s notice was in response to a public suit seeking protection for non-Marathis. It alleged that migrants were unsafe in Maharashtra and that the state government was not doing anything to protect them.

The court issued the notice after hearing two petitions — one filed by Mumbai-based trader Salek Chand Jain and the other by advocate Sanjeev Kumar Singh — complaining that the attacks on non-Maharashtrians had led to a chain reaction elsewhere in the country and that this threatened to destroy the nation’s unity and integrity.

The court had first heard the petitions on Friday, noting that prima facie, there was lack of political will on the part of the state government. It further observed that if the political will was there, the incidents could be averted.

“All of us are Indians and there is no difference between people coming from various regions,” the court had then observed.

Meanwhile, Rahul Raj’s father K.P. Singh will meet President Pratibha Patil Tuesday to seek justice for his son.

“I will meet President Pratibha Patil Tuesday as per given time to request for justice,” Singh, who says he has lost faith in politicians in view of the justifications being bandied around for his son’s killing Oct 27, told reporters in Patna Monday before leaving for Delhi.

Singh, along with his daughter Priyanka, will also submit a memorandum to the president demanding stern action against the policemen involved in Rahul Raj’s killing.

“Our last hope for justice is the president of India before approaching the Supreme Court,” Singh maintained.

Singh, who claims his son was killed in a “fake encounter”, said that two weeks after the incident, he was yet to receive his son’s autopsy report or a list of the items police had recovered from Raj’s possession.

A day after Raj’s killing, Dharam Dev Rai (25), a resident of Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh, was beaten to death in a local train in Mumbai after a brawl.

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