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PUCL Bulletin, September 2006

National convention on black laws and human rights in Chhattisgarh

Resolutions Adopted at the National Convention, April 2006 1. The Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 (CSPSA) is Anti-Constitutional, Anti-Democratic, Anti-People and is an extremely repressive law, under which any form of democratic protest is being declared “unlawful activity” and any group protesting shall be declared “unlawful”. By including terms like “tendency” and “encouragement” in the definition of the crime, the Government is bound to use its discretion and misuse it for settling scores with its political opponents.

The Act denies legal recourse to relief to the victimized persons, and provides for two to seven years of imprisonment without proof of intent or definite act to commit certain acts. Even the journalists and other media persons publishing reports or interviews about banned organisations would also be punished under the Black Law. Enacting this law while deliberately ignoring the comments and amendments to TADA and POTA by the Supreme Court, the National Human Rights Commission and the Parliament, the CSPSA is more repressive than any of the above mentioned black laws. Various political parties, people’s organisations, journalist’s associations and national/international human rights organisations have strongly protested against the CSPSA. The State Government’s draconian designs and motive are clearly reflected in the fact that it has already banned some organisations under the CSPSA, while the Advisory Board has not yet been constituted under the law. Especially the ban on “Adivasi Balak Sangh” raises definite doubts that in the tribal-dominated areas even children below the age of 18 years would be arrested.

Thus, this Convention categorically demands that the “Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005” be repealed forthwith, and calls upon all democratic people’s organisations and political parties to jointly launch a national campaign in protest against this Black Law. If necessary, the CSPSA would not only be challenged in the Supreme Court of India but in the International Legal Forums for violation of international conventions and international standards set up for the human rights.

2. The raising of the Sardar Sarovar Dam without the rehabilitation of dam oustees is an illegal, un-constitutional and inhuman act. This Convention stands in solidarity with Medha Patkar and her supporters presently sitting on Satyaagrah, and strongly condemns the cowardly fascist attack on the office of Narmada Bachaao Aandolan at the behest of the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. This Convention demands that all forceful implementation of big schemes/projects without proper rehabilitation of the affected people in Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand should be immediately stopped as these are in gross violations of human rights.

3. This Convention strongly condemns the Chhattisgarh State Government’s stubborn refusal to make public under the Rightto Information Act the MoUs signed by it with various MNCs and big industrials. This Convention demands that the Chhattisgarh Government should fulfil its constitutional obligations towards protecting and promoting the rights of the adivasis, displaced farmers, labourers and towards the public sector, and guarantee the citizen’s right to life and livelihood by protecting and using the rich mineral resources, jal, jangal aur zameen (land, water, and forest) and cancel the MoUs that negate such rights of the people.

4. This Convention endorses the Findings and Recommendations of the Report of the Fact Finding Team on Bastar constituted by human rights organisations like the PUCL, PUDR, APDR, IAPL, etc., in November 2005. This Convention demands that about 47 thousand Adviasis forced to live in Relief Camps should be provided a conducive climate to lead a normal life and for livelihood in their villages and on their land. Especially, the inhuman process of militarization of youth below the age of 18 years in the name of Special Police Officers (SPO) must be immediately stopped by the State Government.

5. This Convention strongly condemns the politicization of the issue of Conversion and violent attacks on the minorities in the name of Ant-Conversion Laws in the BJP ruled states, and demands for the protection of constitutional rights of minorities in Chhattisgarh.

6. The State Government is demanding fifty years old records for providing the caste certificate to the OBCs, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which is impossible for landless residents and poor workers and peasants. Thus, denial of Constitutional protection provided to these citizens is a matter of grave concern. The Convention demands immediate change in the Government Policy.

7. This Convention demands the appointment of a retired judge of the High Court as the Chairperson of the State Human Rights Commission in accordance with the provisions of the law, and also demands to make public a report on the review of five years of its life and work in Chhattisgarh.

8. This Convention expresses concern at the appointment of former Police Officer of Punjab, Shri K P S Gill as the Special Advisor in Chhattisgarh, because Mr Gill’s role and place in gross violation of human rights have been condemned by all the peace-loving and democratic citizens and organisations. Mr Gill’s complicities in fake encounters and disappearances of many citizens during his tenure as the Police Chief of Punjab State have been shameful and condemned even by prestigious human rights organisations, and several police officials working under his command have been declared guilty by the courts of law in India. In addition, Mr Gill has been found guilty of sexual harassment of a woman officer of the IAS rank by the various courts of law, including the Punjab High Court. Serious questions about the real motive of the Chhattisgarh Government are bound to be raised in appointing such a notorious police officer as the Special Advisor. It also raises doubts about the capabilities and integrity of senior police officers in the State.

People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) – Chhattisgarh: Rajendra Sail, President; Sudha Bhardwaj, Tuhin Deb, Working Committee Members; Rashmi Diwedi, Joint Secretary; Binayak Sen, General Secretary

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014