On 16 August 2022, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took cognizance of a complaint (Case No. 2015/1/21/2022) filed by Indigenous Lawyers Association of India (ILAI) regarding illegal sterilization surgeries conducted on about 600 tribal men and women including members of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in private hospitals in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh in June 2022.
On 11 June 2022, some 600 tribal men and women including members of PVTGs from different villages in Munchingput and Pedabayalu in Alluri Sitharamaraju district were transported in buses to a private hospital in Visakhapatnam for family-planning surgeries.
The hospital representatives who had taken them to the hospitals allegedly promised them Rs 5,000 each, free transport, food and stay. The family planning procedure is one of the simplest surgeries but the tribals were told that they needed to be kept under observation for 15 days.
The surgeries were also conducted without following due procedures/protocols, which could pose serious health risks to the tribals who have undergone the surgeries. Moreover, they were shifted from one facility to another and medical protocols were not followed.
Most importantly, majority of the tribals belong to PVTGs such as Kondu, Bagatha, Koraja and Valmiki, who were discharged only after intervention of the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) on 16 June 2022. Conducting the family planning surgeries on tribals from PVTGs is illegal in the State.
In Andhra Pradesh, these communities are prohibited from availing surgical procedures for family planning to avert a decline in their population.