Monday, September 20, 2021
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Mamata Banerjee appoints senior member of NGO funded by US State Department, British High Commission to investigate Pegasus

Justice Madan Lokur is a senior member of an NGO funded by the US State Department. He is an Executive Committee member of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has appointed a 2-member commission to investigate the Pegasus ‘snoopgate’. The commission is to be headed by former judge of the Supreme Court Madan Lokur. The other member in the team is a former judge of the Calcutta High Court.

Justice Madan Lokur is a senior member of an NGO funded by the US State Department. He is an Executive Committee member of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).

Source: CHRI Website

In 2021, the CHRI has received contributions from the US Department of State (American Embassy), the British High Commission in New Delhi, the High Commission of Canada among others.

The purpose for the contributions from the US was “Advocacy and Outreach Programme for Detainees in North Eastern States of India”, for the UK it was “Research on Pace of Justice issues in India and their impact on Foreign National detainees and victims of crime” and the Canadian contribution was for “Reimbursement of Expenditure”.

Apart from them, the CHRI has also received contributions from the Kaleidoscope Diversity Trust, Friedrich Naumman Stiftung – Germany, The Hanns Seidel Foundation and others.

Source: CHRI

Justice Madan Lokur was one of the four judges who had held a press conference against then CJI Dipak Misra in 2018. As a member of CHRI, he had signed a statement along with other so-called ’eminent citizens’ against the ongoing process of NRC and detention centres.

The statement read, “As concerned citizens, we look to the Supreme Court to reaffirm India’s constitutional and international obligations to rights on sensitive issues. That is why we are disappointed by recent statements by the Chief Justice of India on a complex matter relating to illegal detention and deportation, without heeding India’s own constitutional and international obligations.”

“While advocating greater detention of suspected ‘foreigners’, the Chief Justice brushed aside the Assam Chief Secretary with a stinging admonition for proposing a methodology for the release of a handful of foreign prisoners who had been in detention beyond their term of sentence for illegal entry. This was especially of concern for the case concerned the willful violation of the human rights of hundreds of detainees who were languishing in what the court itself accepts are “inhuman conditions”.  We regard these remarks as unfortunate,” it added.

Madan Lokur had recently joined the Ashoka University as an ombudsperson. On Saturday, he voiced his objections against the UAPA law. “Look at the emotional, psychological impact on his family, him… His children… They will go to school where classmates will say your father is a ‘terrorist’ for something he has not done… We are not looking at the mental aspect,” he had said on the UAPA at a virtual conference.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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