PRESS RELEASE- Fact Finding Report ‘ Guilty Until Proven Innocent’ on Unlawful Police Activities in North Bastar


CHHATTISGARH LOK SWATANTRYA SANGATHAN

(PEOPLES UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES, CHHATTISGARH)

___________________________________________________________________________

                                                                                                                                                                Date 20th May 2013

To: The Editor/ Chief Reporter

PRESS RELEASE: FOR FAVOUR OF PUBLICATION

A team consisting of eminent activists and lawyers went for a fact finding mission organized by PUCL-Chhattisgarh to the Edanar and Malmeta Villages of the Edanar Panchayat, Kanker District and the Anjrel Village of Khadkagaon Panchayat, Narayanpur District of North Bastar, on 18th and 19th April 2013.  The purpose of the mission was to investigate and document the unlawful police activities that were exposed by Edanar villagers during a statewide camp by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) conducted on 12th April, 2013 in Raipur.   The representation by Edanar village focuses mainly on a police rampage that happened in Edanar and Malmeta Villages in which six villagers were assaulted, two families were robbed, and one innocent man was arrested, and remains in jail till date, after being accused of aiding Naxalites.

However, the 23rd January incident is only a small part of a longer history of militarization and unlawful police activities in this region.  In the Edanar Panchayat (P.S. Tadoki), security forces consisting of CRPF and BSF, accompanied by local police and Special Police Officers (SPOs), conduct combing operations twice a month in which homes are looted and villagers are assaulted, threatened, labeled as “Naxalites”, arrested, charged with very serious offences and some of them even killed. In the Khadkagaon Panchayat (P.S. Narayanpur), villagers are routinely terrorized and even evicted from their homes by local SPOs, despite the Supreme Court order declaring SPOs unconstitutional.

The team documented over 20 such incidents of unlawful activities in both panchayats.  The report also examines the legal issues associated with and the overall context in which these violent attacks have occurred.  It gives special importance to the broader impact of the ongoing militarization of the region including the six BSF camps which are already stationed in Kanker, and the pending construction of 22 paramilitary barracks by the Bhilai Steel Plant to protect the functioning of its Raoghat iron ore mine.

The team releases the attached report,  Guilty Until Proven Innocent :  A Fact Finding Report on Unlawful Police Activities in Two Panchayats of North Bastar, Chhattisgarh with the hope that the media would highlight the situation of the people living in these areas, understand the larger political and economic context of the ongoing violence, and strike a well-educated public discourse around the issue.   We strongly urge correspondents to visit the area and write firsthand accounts of the issues faced by the local villagers.

Team members include: Shishir Dikshit (Lawyer, Janhit Legal Center), Lakhan Singh (People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Chhattisgarh), Somdutt Upadhayay (Lawyer, Bilaspur Social Forum), Tathagata Sengupta (People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Chhattisgarh), Samantha Agarwal (Sanhati), Pinki Verma (Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha-Mazdoor Karyakarta Samiti), and Keshav Sori (Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan). The following report has been jointly prepared by the members of the fact finding team.

For further information contact: Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj (9926603877)

Sincerely,

Sudha Bharadwaj

General Secretary, PUCL-Chhattisgarh

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Soni Sori gets bail in one more case #Goodnews #Vaw | kracktivist
  2. S Agarwal
    Jun 02, 2013 @ 20:02:48

    Its time now to focus on the damage which is going to be done by “Raoghat Hill ” mining which falls under Kanker and Narainpur district of North Bastar ,Chattisgarh.
    Government and BSP(Bhilai Steel Plant) have both played in the hands of Private Corporates and gone ahead to destroy on the most rare forest in this whole world where Teak(sagon) and Saja trees co-exist and make it a place of immense Bio-Diversity which should be preserved and not blindly destroyed in the name of development.
    This place is also of immense religious importance to the local inhabitants but BSP lied at the time of getting environment and other cleranaces by saying that there are no inhabitants and also that the mining area doesn’t fall under reserve forest area.Everybody knows that “Raoghat Hill” falls under the “Matla Reserve Forest”and that for the locals its as important as the “Niyamgiri Hill” was to the Konds of Odisa.
    Government is using all kinds of pressure tactics by deploying CRPF,BSF etc to crush any popular voice against this exploitation of ‘Raoghat Hill’ which is against the constitution of our country which says no development work can be imposed by force on the indigenous people.
    The sad part is that ‘Anjrel’ village in ‘Raoghat Hill’ has to be displaced and the locals don’t even know about it and over the past few years our forces have systematically killed or captured men of the villages and now the village is also know as village of widowers.

    Reply

  3. Trackback: Dr Binayak Sen denied permission to UN Rapporteur’s seminar #WTFnews | kracktivist

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