Two members of the NHRC investigating post-poll violence in West Bengal had BJP backgrounds

News Desk: Two of the seven members that made up the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)’s committee to investigate allegations of post-poll violence in West Bengal had backgrounds in the BJP.

One of the members of the committee was Atif Rasheed, who at present serves as the vice-chairman of National Commission for Minorities. Rasheed has a background in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological and organisational parent of the BJP. He had a long association with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the RSS, and served the organisation in various capacities such as vistarak, joint secretary of Delhi unit and national executive committee member, between 1997 and 2004, following which he served at another RSS-backed organisation, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, for two years.

He also served as the president of Delhi BJP’s minority morcha and later its national executive member, as a national executive member of the BJP’s youth wing, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), and contested the Delhi municipal elections in 2012 on a BJP ticket. His Twitter address till date is @AtifBjp.

The other person is Rajulben Desai, who is a member of the National Commission for Women since 2019. She had earlier served in the Gujarat BJP’s Mahila Morcha and, in 2017, was one of the in-charge of Gujarat BJP’s Beti Bachao– Beti Padhao project. Between 2017 and 2019, she also served as a member of Gujarat State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

While her bio on the website of NHRC does mention her involvement in the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao movement, it does not mention that it was a BJP project. However, the Gujarat BJP’s website mentions her and her personal website, too, too, refers to how her service in the BJP earned her praises from the party.

Desai did not deny her background in the BJP.

“I am an academic first. I have been a law college principal currently on deputation at the NCW. The Gujarat BJP used me for their programmes related to women and children because of my expertise in this field. I think the NHRC chairman selected me for this committee because of my knowledge of legal affairs, especially in evidence gathering. Nevertheless, as an investigation committee member, I have been neutral and the committee members only adhered to the concept of natural justice,” she said.