The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday summoned Chief Secretary of Chhattisgarh and Bastar Range Inspector General of Police S.R.P. Kalluri over their antagonistic attitude and abuse of power towards human rights activists.
Terming it a “disturbing” situation in Chhattisgarh, the commission asked the officers to appear before NHRC on 30 November.
The suo motu decision has come in the wake of “nationwide outcry and protest” after an FIR was framed against Delhi University professor Nandini Sundar, JNU professor Archana Prasad and several others in connection with the killing of a tribal man in Bastar.
The Commission is deeply disturbed by the state of affairs in Chhattisgarh over last one year or more and is of the view that the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Chhattisgarh and Shri S.R.P. Kalluri, IGP, Bastar Range should appear in person before the Commission 30.11.2016 at 11.00 am with all reports to explain the allegations made against the police and administration in the press media and by human rights defenders.NHRC
Referring to media reports about the death Samnath Baghel, who was leading a campaign against Maoists in the area, the Commission observed that there is no visible connection between murder and visit of these human rights activists.
The media reports over the last week have alleged that the Chhattisgarh Police named Prof. Nandini Sundar and 10 others as accused in the murder of tribal Somnath Baghel in Sukma district. It is reported that he was killed by Maoists as he had been leading a campaign against their activities since April. There is no apparent connection between murder and visit of these human rights activists and, therefore, it has been alleged that they have been framed in a mala fide manner by police to settle scoresNHRC statement
The Commission also took Judicial Notice of Petition filed by Nandini Sundar in Supreme Court against “atrocities by Bastar Police” towards tribal people by burning of their homes, after which SC ordered an investigation by CBI found S.R.P. Kalluri responsible for the burning of homes.
The NHRC also observed said that since allegations were raised against IG Kalluri himself, “why the investigation in the FIR now registered should not be handed over to an independent agency like CB CID or CBI”.
The Commission further said that the act of burning effigies of Sundar and other activists by the police this month was “unprecedented acts of hostility and indiscipline by Chhattisgarh Auxiliary Police”.
Naming of these human rights activists in the FIR in the backdrop and circumstances mentioned above lends credence of the observation of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) that all this was part of the State Police vendetta against the lawyers, journalists and human rights activists who have been critical of fake encounters, mass rapes, arson, etc. by security forces. The naming of these persons in FIR appears to be the ploy to stop their entry and visit to the tribal areas for exposing their misdeedsNHRC
Along with Prasad and Sundar, the police had booked eight other rights activists under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.