Saturday, May 27, 2017

Quint interview with Indira Basu

Monday, May 22, 2017

Why Podiyam Panda needs another hearing in court


22nd May 2017

The Podiyam Panda ‘surrender’ is the first one being challenged before a court. The entire experience shows the questionable legality of the surrender process in Chhatisgarh.

In the habeas case filed by his wife, Muiye Panda, Podiyam Panda came and went before the High Court under police guard. What value does such a production have? The Supreme Court has held in several judgments that a statement made before a magistrate by someone who is in police custody and thinks they will go back to police custody cannot be relied upon. This applies to the Panda case too.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

How the Chhattisgarh Police Turned a Well-Regarded Sarpanch Into a Fugitive, and Now Captive

Since the April 24 Maoist attack in Bastar which 25 CRPF personnel were killed, experts have talked of how the road from Dornapal to Jagargunda has been under construction for some five years, and lamented the fact that so many jawans have lost their lives trying to provide protection for road building.
But there was a time before 2006-7 and before Salwa Judum destroyed this area, when this was a thriving road by Bastar standards, with at least three important weekly markets located on it – Chintagufa, Chintalnar and Jagargunda. Even now, despite the devastation in the villages around, there is a weekly market at Chintagufa, a school, a fair price shop (PDS) and a health centre (however erratically it functions) – and the credit for this must go entirely to its former sarpanch, Podiyam Panda.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

No end in sight for India's bloody Maoist conflict

On 24 April, 2017, 25 men from the paramilitary central reserve police force, India’s main counterinsurgency force in the central Indian war theatre, were killed in a Maoist ambush.  Predictably, the media outrage, the solutions offered by security pundits and the statement issued by the Maoists had a strong sense of déjà vu. 76 men from another battalion of the CRPF had been ambushed and killed in this very stretch of Sukma district near Tadmetla in Chhattisgarh on April 6, 2010.

In the seven years between then and now, there have been other CRPF deaths – for instance, 12 CRPF men were killed barely a month previously on 11 March 2017; there have been unmarked deaths of Maoist cadres, and above all, there has been a relentless assault on the human rights of adivasi or indigenous villagers across the region.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

NHRC summons the Chief Secretary of Government of Chhattisgarh and IGP, Bastar to explain the allegations of hostility and abuse of power against Human Rights Defenders (17.11.2016)


New Delhi, 17th November, 2016

The National Human Rights Commission has noted and taken suo motu cognizance of "the nationwide outcry and protest on IG of Bastar Range Shri S.R.P. Kalluri for registering FIR No.27/2016 P.S. Tongpal dated 5.11.2016 against Delhi University Professor Archana Prasad, JNU Prof. Nandini Sundar, Vineet Tiwari, Sanjay Parate of CPI(M) and Manju Kawasi for offences of murder, criminal trespass, conspiracy and for offences under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. It has been alleged that she and Prof. Nandini Sundar and other associate professors are being threatened by Bastar Police for arresting these activists in the said FIR.

The reports in press and media over last week have alleged that Chhattisgarh Police has named Prof. Nandini Sundar and ten others as accused in the murder of a tribal Mr. Samnath Baghel in Sukma District on 4.11.2016. It is reported that he was killed by Maoists as he had been leading a campaign against Maoists activities since April, 2016. It has been alleged that these professors had visited Bastar in May, 2016, while this murder has taken place in November, 2016. 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 mala fide manner by police to settle scores. It has been stated that FIR has been registered in the name of the wife of killed Baghel.

The Commission also takes Judicial Notice of Petition filed by Prof. Nandini Sundar recently in Hon'ble Supreme Court against atrocities by Bastar Police against tribal people by burning of their homes. The Hon'ble Supreme Court ordered investigation by CBI. The CBI found S.R.P. Kalluri, IG of Police, Bastar Range responsible for the burning of homes. She has also earlier filed a petition in Supreme Court in Salwa Judum case in 2007 against atrocities by police in the tribal areas. She with other lawyers and journalists has in the past brought to the notice of the Commission mass rape of women, murders and other crimes by security officers under the umbrella of police. The Commission is separately examining those complaints and has sought comments from the State of Chhattisgarh on the findings submitted to the Commission by its team after visiting Chhattisgarh.

The Commission also took suo motu cognizance this month against the unprecedented acts of hostility and indiscipline by Chhattisgarh Auxiliary Police in burning the effigies of Prof. Nandini Sundar and other lawyers and journalists as they were instrumental in exposing the deeds of police. 

The Commission on consideration of the whole situation obtaining in Chhattisgarh over more than a year views the action of registration of FIR against Prof. Nandini Sundar and others as an act in line with earlier acts of hostility displayed by police.